What a difference just two months has made in all our sports lives.
No basketball. No baseball. No golf tournaments. No horse or car racing. No track. No softball. No football. No swimming, soccer or ice hockey. On and on we go.
As we all struggle with COVID-19, sports have not been the center of attention, and in most cases, not even put on our top-10 list of things to do. However, as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we do seem to bring it back to the table for conversation.
Pardon me please, as I relate to my life with sports, and what might have been if there had been no sports as part of it.
I am sure many of you can just shut your eyes and think back to what might have been with your life without sports, as players and as fans.
As long as I can remember, some type of game was played, whether it was roller bat in the back yard with friends or marbles at Wales School. As a fourth grader, my first competition was to win a sack race at the county track and field day at Sam Davis Park.
My friend John Henry Watkins and I were members of the first Little League baseball teams of Giles County. Those games were played at Sam Davis Park at the time, before Exchange Park was built.
Playing football in junior high and at high school at Giles County High. Playing independent baseball with the Pulaski Red Sox, managed by my dear friend the late James Puryear.
That led to a college baseball scholarship at Martin College, playing two years for coach Jimmy Earle. That led to graduation and a coaching and teaching job at Campbellsville. That great experience led to a coaching and teaching job at Giles County High. And that experience led to the first Pulaski Recreation Director, where we formed men’s and women’s softball teams. We opened the first softball league for girls known as Junior Lib and Senior Lib. We played games at Richland Park where they are still playing.
Now, how would my life have been without sports? To say for sure, it would have been different. There would have been no college, possibly, because at that time I was working at Genesco.
No Little League experience I would have had as a player, coach and umpire. My sons, Jeff and Chris, would have missed out on that experience of baseball, football and basketball, plus soccer and golf.
Now look to the real world. That, of course, did not happen, and of course it won’t happen this time.
Do we put too much of our lives into living sports, that we forget just what is important?
And yes, there are just so many reruns of all the great basketball, baseball and football games to watch. Plus Andy Griffith and John Wayne Westerns. Heck, it’s so boring on TV, I watch cartoons — Looney Toons.
Yes, it’s all going to come back. However, I do feel for the senior athletes who had this final experience in spring sports gone forever, not to mention a chance to go to college and a possible scholarship.
The same holds true for college seniors.
As we strive again to put everything back on the shelf, the experience of those final four months of senior high school and college life is gone and cannot be replaced by online classes and a graduation in June rather than May. But again, that’s better than no graduation, like no experience of senior week, heck even senior skip day. Plus, senior trips to Florida and other places.
Next time, I’ll have interviews with former Little League baseball and softball and Babe Ruth players and coaches.