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Play every game as if it’s your very last

The phrase “play every game as if it’s your last” has never meant more than it does right now. But for some athletes, the message may have been realized too late. For many athletes, there is no tomorrow in their world of sports.

While I’ve been away, enjoying the 80-degree temperatures and near perfect conditions on Clearwater Beach the past few days, athletes around the world, across all levels–professional, collegiate, high school, etc–have been mourning the losses of seasons that have not yet been finished. Waving goodbye to careers that have abruptly and shockingly come to a devastating halt.

With the pandemic that is the coronavirus, sporting events across the country have been canceled and this has undoubtedly left the world in shock.

I won’t get it into my opinions about the coronavirus itself. I’ll rather just share my thoughts on how I currently sit here, right now, in a world without sports and ponder the possibilities of how seasons and careers can be saved.

If there were any questions about how or if sports impacts the world, now is the opportunity to sit back and really take everything in. Not everyone will physically be effected by this virus, but an even greater number have been and will continue to be effected as long as the sports world is shut down.

If you are someone who believes that sports are just a game and don’t truly impact the world in a positive way, please think again.

Many athletes, especially seniors in high school and college, may have had their final opportunity to make memories or a lasting impact with their school, coaches, teammates, family, friends and fans ripped away.

Saying I understand how these athletes feel would be an absolute lie. Instead, all I can do is wonder how some of these athletes may feel having what could be one final opportunity and one final game stripped from them.

One of the most exciting times of the year will now be one of the saddest. March is once again madness, but this time, for all of the wrong reasons.

I will say that it may be in the best interest of the athletes, coaches and spectators that we don’t fill venues with the current issues that we are facing. League and conference commissioners, along with school presidents, administrators and other higher ups have probably made the right choice in the best interest of many who will compete and attend these sporting events, but if there was ever a solution and ever a way to do something in the best interest of athletes–specifically college athletes playing in their final seasons–grant these athletes one more year of eligibility.

If we all believe that what is happening is for the best interest of everyone, let’s continue to do what’s in the best interest of individuals affected any way we can. In the best interest of athletes and in the interest of fairness, ALL college athletes should be given the option to receive another year of eligibility for winter and spring sports.

Will this happen? I don’t know. The idea made sense to me and has briefly been discussed. It seems like an easy decision to be made and one that would obviously benefit the athletes, but it could benefit more than just the athletes themselves.

Whether or not this idea will ever come to fruition is just another uncertainty we face at this moment.

Another possibility, for high school level athletes would be to postpone the remaining winter sports tournaments back until after the spring sports season is complete.

I understand you would be looking at playing sports into the summer months, but with the proper scheduling, a completion of these tournaments by the end of June could be possible if an exception as made. 

And I don’t believe there would be much of an issue. The issue is right now and how we need to go about fixing it if there is indeed a way. More times than not, there is a way.

Obviously there is a major concern right now, but I’m confident that this dilemma we are facing will run its course and hopefully all will be back to normal sooner rather than later.

Professional athletes will get another chance. They will play more games in more seasons for more years. College athletes are missing out on big time opportunities that could be life-changing.

Present college athletes the option of another year of eligibility and at the high school level, let’s focus on the word postpone rather than cancel. 

Let’s allow the athletes to finish what they’ve started and finish what they’ve worked so hard for. Let’s crown champions for the 2019-2020 school year. If this somehow cannot be possible, let’s at least go out making a strong attempt at doing what is right and what is in the best interest of everyone.

Once again, these are just a few thoughts and opinions during a time where you will likely hear many scenarios presented.

It’s challenging to think about the athletes and what they’ve gone through the past few days. To not be able to do something you truly love and have invested so much time and energy into, while earning opportunities that you may never receive is a travesty in itself.

I’ll leave the athletes with this.

Don’t waste this time being angry, frustrated or sad. Use this time as motivation. Pick yourselves up. Use this as an opportunity to work harder and get better despite the harsh challenges you may be facing.

Last, but not least.

Don’t ever take that famous saying for granted.

Play every game as if it is your last.

Because you really never know what game could be your last.

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