MORE THAN JUST SPORTS BUT SPORTS ARE MORE THAN SOME YOUTH CAN COMPREHEND By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
The current situation our society is enduring is certainly a unique situation. I am not going to pretend to be smart enough to explain flattening bell curves, social distancing, essential staff, quarantining, or other new vocabulary words we are being forced to comprehend. What I do know is I love my family; I love my students and players like family, and I would never want to do anything that puts them or those close to them in danger.
It has been bizarre how quickly things have changed this past week. In less than a week, we went from packing the Convo for a third-round duel of Adena/Zane Trace, to four tickets per athlete, to no games, to no practices, to perhaps no season for sports that don’t end until June.
Think of the historic sports value. If the Division III night would have been Thursday at the Convo instead of Wednesday, Cam Evans would have graduated second on the all-time Zane Trace scoring list for boys instead of passing the great Jeff Reisinger. Evans had passed Pierce Mowery for second after scoring 15 points in the district championship win over Ironton before scoring 26 points against an outstanding Harvest Prep squad in the Sweet 16. All totaled Evans ended his career with 1,652 points. Reisinger is now second at 1,646, and Mowery sits third at 1,622. The ZT trio sits four, five, and six respectively on the all-time SVC scoring list for boys.
If I can digress for a second from the overall topic of this article, I hope people understand just how good Cam Evans has been, and I hope basketball fans appreciate what we had the privilege to watch. Evans scored so easy. There was never anything you would label “too much” or flashy in his game. His scoring was simple. His scoring was efficient. He added things to his game year-by-year, and a kid who could drive and score and get to the line later became one of the elite shooters in the SVC as well.
For a sports fan like me, mid-March starts a stretch of about six weeks that is unmatched throughout the year. High school tournament basketball, high school baseball practice, March Madness, Opening Day for the Reds, and the Masters just to name a few things. All of these things will be scratched (or at least delayed) for 2020. For the first time in my memory, I will look to other things to welcome spring.
I have been out of high school for 25 springs. When the current announcement was passed down from Governor DeWine to the OHSAA to my local administration, I was in the process of starting my 25th season of coaching high school baseball. Now, we approach the upcoming spring with the reality that this 25th spring could be over before it starts. As adults, we understand that these kids will have bigger and better things awaiting them in the future, but when you are 17 or 18 years old, few things beyond family are bigger to you than being a part of a team with your friends. I feel so bad for all the kids, but it is even more of a punch in the gut when I think of seniors. I know I am currently holding out hope that I will get to coach these eight seniors that have all come through our entire Paint Valley program at least one more day. I know many of them have spent the past year to 18 months rehabbing multiple injuries to get a chance to do this. I know these types of stories exist in schools all over the SVC.
For now, we wait and work together. Obviously, this is a time for families to stay safe, look for opportunities to help those less fortunate, and to catchup on many things that perhaps we neglect during the normal everyday grind. For those of you who just can’t erase sports completely, SVCsportszone.com hopes to give reflection and features over the next three weeks to help pass the time.
I thank all of you for allowing SVCsportszone.com the chance to cover our league’s programs and athletes over the past 13 years, and I look forward to a time in the near future when we can all safely return to watching, covering, and reporting action on the field.