When covering the Montana High School Athletic Association Class C state basketball championships two years ago, the majority of the players from the team called the Arlee Warriors played with the flu.
More than half of Warriors’ starters, who eventually captured the 2017-2018 title for their second consecutive Class C state championship, were heralded for their bravery because they were also getting sick in trash cans at halftime.
They continued to play throughout the tournament, and it didn’t prevent them from winning it all.
The early April New York Times Magazine even used this situation for additional color for their cover story that hit newsstands after Arlee hoisted the championship trophy.
Will Mesteth, who played the whole season with an undiagnosed illness that caused him to lose 25 pounds, continued to not only go to school but kept playing basketball through the adversity.
When brought to the emergency department and was talking to the medical staff, the New York Times Magazine article said he insisted: “Even if you tell me I can’t play, I’m still going to continue to play,” the Times reported he told the doctor.
What a different world, now.
Now we enter today’s world, where the virus is spreading and defeating many records this spring, and pandemic precautions have shut down the sports world.
The old saying “the show must go on” has taken a backseat to more in vogue phrases like “social distancing” and “self-isolation.”
The Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation kids are now at a stand-still, and yesterday, after interviewing Kapa‘a’s standout baseball player Noah Cardinez, it’s apparent the kids lost more than just their time on the field.
Cardinez talked about the despair of losing his senior year. The seniors might not get to experience senior prom and graduation, while distance learning may be a possibility depending on the dramatic turns of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
When glancing at the ominous statistics, it appears this crisis is going to have some longevity.
Every KIF coach echoed the same sentiment to their ball players. They have to learn to become independent during this time, and do workouts on their own.
Waimea High School baseball coach Chad Delanoza has tried to keep in contact with his kids as much as possible.
“We have a lot of disappointed kids not being able to compete this season,” Delanoza told The Garden Island. “It’s for the welfare of all of the kids, which is important during this time. So we will take it in stride day by day, and hope for a better outcome, but for now, all we need to do is take care of ourselves and each other.”
The show will go on. Cardinez will either get to honor his commitment to play baseball at the University of Hawaii in December or will be one of the few that gets the opportunity to be drafted, pending if Major League Baseball still holds their traditional amateur draft in June.
One day, the stadiums will fill up and the fans will return, but it will be to a different world, where we are more conscientious about taking care of ourselves, and hopefully, each other.
One thing is for sure, our standard as we knew it before this outbreak will most likely never be the same.
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.