Over the past few months we have spent hours on the phone with coaches, administrators, and every one in between talking about the return of sports. Now sports will definitely return and things will go back to the way they were before but the real story is the in between time. What will things look like for the foreseeable future?
That is a totally loaded question so let's simplify it and look at cross country and what that season could look like and what could be done to help the season happen. Obviously this goes without saying but we will say it anyways that sports are important but not nearly as important as human lives and the well-being of our communities. So, this only really addresses one side of the matter... the logistical side.
To start you have two major options and three possible scenarios.
Option #1: Great in as much of the season as possible
Option #2: Focus on getting the state meet to happen
Then you get to the three possible scenarios. The first is that everything is normal and we have a more proactive society that embraces social-distancing and wearing of face masks at XC events. The second is that COVID comes back in the early part of the season and schools have to shut down or limit activities and the third is the opposite where COVID returns later in the season closer to Thanksgiving.
Our sport's response here in VA to any of these scenarios will entirely depend on the options of important (aside from health and well-being). If the goal is to have as many meets as possible then nothing really changes except some meets will be cancelled, moved-up and moved-back. The second option though has a lot of questions alongside it and may cause a lot of controversy.
If option two is the focus and it very well could be since the VHSL and VISAA don't host invitationals, things will be catered towards making the meets happen. That leaves everyone with three more options as to what to do with states. The first is to keep them on their planned date and hope they can happen, the second is to move the state championships back, and lastly the most unlikely option is to move them forward (earlier in the season).
All three options pose their own questions and uncertainties but the most troublesome is moving the meet up. Athletes need a certain amount of time to train and coaches need time to figure out the lineup. This makes this option the least likely in our mind. The next one is moving it back, though this could happen as a last resort, it would pose its own problems with NXR and Foot Locker Regionals... not to mention Thanksgiving weekend.
Overall it is not a position to envy to be in. The VHSL and VISAA most certainly will be doing everything possible to get athletics back to normal and to do it safely. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, we are all in this together and all taking it day by day.