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Area seniors fretting over possible loss of spring sports season

Friday’s announcement by several school districts that spring sports will not take place until at least April was just another in a string of postponements across the world of athletics.

The shock of a few baseball, tennis, softball and track and field events being postponed or canceled seems minimal to most when you consider every major sporting event is off — including The Masters, which was announced Friday.

But for some star seniors across the area, the news was worrisome. It’s starting to sink in that they may have played their final high school game before the season even started.

Bellefonte’s C.J. Funk, who has signed with the University of Pittsburgh to continue his baseball career, made a plea to the PIAA on Twitter Friday.

“Dear PIAA, Please don’t follow this unfortunate trend. We all want our spring seasons. Don’t jump the gun so early. Sincerely, Carter.”

Funk’s thoughts are likely shared by many athletes across the area.

Regular season events in spring sports are not heavily attended for the most part and would not seem to fall under Governor Tom Wolf’s suggestion that all public events with more than 250 attendees should be postponed.

The PIAA’s decision to postpone the high school boys and girls state basketball tournaments seems to fit the bill of the events Wolf described more accurately. The large crowds attending these events sitting within close proximity of each other is a much different atmosphere than a few people scattered around Mansion Park taking in a track meet.

Still, looking deeper into it, you can see reasons for concern to postpone these sporting events even before Wolf’s announcement was made to close all schools for two weeks starting Monday.

Anyone who has ever played baseball or softball probably has experienced the feeling of being a little grossed out when you put on someone’s helmet that just had a triple and was sweating a little bit.

Relay teams in track pass a baton between teammates who have worked up a sweat.

Even tennis players both grip a ball that could absorb moisture from one player’s sweat and transfer the germs that could come with that to another holding the same ball.

I’m certainly not an expert on disease or the current global pandemic, and that goes for the schools making this decision and the PIAA, too. The PIAA is consulting with people who are, however, so their decisions on this are the right ones if supported by those experts.

That doesn’t mean anyone likes it.

It’s tough seeing posts from people like Bellwood-Antis assistant girls basketball coach Ryan McGarvey on Twitter saying he’ll cry if they cancel the PIAA tournament.

The doomsday scenarios being thrown out there aren’t likely to be the result of an Altoona tennis player picking up a ball. But right now, everyone is worried about the fact I had to include the word “likely” in that last sentence. Despite how upsetting it is, these decisions are being made to try and protect everyone — not purposely ruin the last go-around for seniors prepping for their last scholastic season.

Michael Boytim can be contacted at mboytim@altoonamirror.com or 946-7521. Follow him for scholastic updates on Twitter @BoytimMichael.

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