You might have read a story in Wednesday’s paper outlining contingency plans being developed by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association to utilize if schools reopen after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s most recent Stay at Home order expires April 30.
The idea is that sports could squeeze in a sharply truncated version of the spring season, with state tournaments canceled and most sports going right into region tournaments. No qualifying, just everybody into the pool. It’s a bizarre notion — do they try and seed the teams, or just have a draw like a tennis tournament? — but it would at least give the student-athletes, and especially the seniors, a chance to do something, anything, this year.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
Anybody who has been paying attention to the coronavirus pandemic since the beginning knows that those who grasped that this was a serious public health emergency have been right and those who acted as if it was just like the flu and being trumped up for political gain have been wrong. Dead wrong.
So, although recent projections show our efforts at self-quarantining and social distancing (remember when those weren’t things?) seem to be working, and things might not get as bad as the medical community once feared, we’re still weeks away from anything resembling normal, with plenty of bad news coming in the short term.
So I don’t see much reason to put any stock in the notion that there will be any region baseball playoffs, softball playoffs, track and field championships or golf tournaments. The odds are long, really long, like Pahrump Valley-softball-Sunset League-mercy rule winning streak long. (That means really long.)
And nobody would be happier than I would be if they did play something. For someone like me, the postseason is a great time. Hitting baseball games Monday and Wednesday, softball games Tuesday and Saturday, a golf tournament Thursday and a track meet Friday is a heck of a good week. And it doesn’t matter if those events are in Pahrump, Las Vegas, Boulder City, Overton and Mesquite. I’ll be there. If you don’t believe me, check out my monthly mileage reports.
(The truly observant will note those hypothetical events were on six days during what is supposed to be a five-day work week. So? I’d be at all of them, and nobody but nobody will stop me. The most creative stories I write each month are on my time cards.)
So while I stare at the teams in each region on my computer and ponder potential matchups for an everybody-into-the-pool region tournament, I know damn well it’s more hypothetical than my impending Pulitzer.
As I said earlier: Not. Going. To. Happen.
So I should be blasting the NIAA right now for wasting everybody’s time, for the pointless planning for things that will not happen, for fostering the notion that the impossible is right around the corner and for making us wonder about the sanity of people who would do all of those things.
As much as I love to blast people — and I’ve been told I’m really good at it, from columns pretty much destroying our football and basketball teams (and, most memorably, the marching band) in college right down to ranting last week on Facebook about “Jeopardy” contestants who have no clue how to wager for Final Jeopardy — I’m not feeling it this time.
So what if I have a better chance of running the 400 without keeling over than the NIAA does of conducting a regional track championship this year? Isn’t it better to have hope?
Look, when somebody leads you on for all of the wrong reasons and then disappoints you, that’s shameful. But here, we’re being led on in the faint hope there could be games this spring. It’s not like the NIAA will benefit when the inevitable cancellation is announced shortly after April 30. We’re not being led on for evil reasons.
Hope is often a scarce commodity, and that goes for a lot of things more important than a high school sports season. So I’m glad the NIAA is holding out the tiniest shred of optimism that something might happen in May.
During the extremely brief time spring sports were being played, I was able to see Pahrump Valley baseball, softball and track (the newcomers, anyway), Tonopah baseball and softball and Round Mountain baseball, seeing games in three states to do it. I know deep down I am not going to see any of them compete again this season.
But it’s nice to think about the possibility. And the NIAA also is thinking about the possibility.
Good for them.