High School spring sports still dealing with challenges of pandemic a year later

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Spring sports have begun for high school teams in the area. However, the pandemic is still presenting challenges for those coaches and athletes.

Last spring, the hearts of many athletes were broken as sorts were put on hold.

This year it’s a different story as spring sport athletes are going to have a season, they just aren’t sure how that season is going to look.

“It’s the same situation we faced, but in a different way because we now know a little bit more about the virus,” Arnold softball coach Rick Green said.

Scheduling games has been tough on coaches, especially since other schools have had to cancel due to COVID-19 issues or protocols.

For Green, he’s already had fifteen teams drop out of his annual softball tournament.

“It’s opportunity after opportunity with scheduling but you don’t know if your gonna play the people or not,” Green said.

Bay High is in the same boat where they can’t solidify dates and times for their annual baseball tournament because of teams dropping in and out.

However, scheduling isn’t the only issue. Some athletes have to quarantine throughout the season due to COVID-19 exposure.

Bay High athletic director Michael Grady said he knows it’s frustrating for the coaches, but there is a positive side to it.

“If students have to sit out, another student gets to step up and show what they can do. It builds depth, that’s another thing about sports that’s good is that you get to build depth and hopefully come playoff time you are a better team as the season goes through,” Grady said.

Grady also said the financial strain the pandemic has put on the athletic department and even the athletes have been a problem too and he hopes that fans will come out this season to help.

“Keep in mind, that our student athletes are sometimes having to pay for things on their own and we want to make it so that student athletes never have to pay to particpate at the high school level,” Grady said.

Even with all the issues that may arise in the spring season, these athletes just grateful to play.

“Worrying about tomorrow, takes the joy out of today. We’re gonna have to take it day by day and make a decision when it happens. Again, I’m thinking every high school in Bay County is in the situation we’re in,” Green said.

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