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Area gyms remain silent for now

Commentary

Tonight was supposed to be the first night of competition for the winter scholastic sports season, but in District 6, there won’t be any tip-offs, grappling or dives into a pool.

And there might not be for quite some time.

The PIAA decided not to delay the season at its meeting Wednesday, but no schools in the Mirror’s region have met the 15-practice preseason rule to begin competition tonight and likely won’t reach that mark any time soon, especially with Thursday’s announcement that all sports at K-12 schools have been shut down starting Saturday until Jan. 4 by the governor’s office.

Some schools, such as Portage, have already delayed the start of winter sports competitions until at least Feb. 1, and District 6 chairman Bill Marshall said Wednesday that he felt more schools would move in that direction.

The PIAA removed the requirement to play 50 percent of a 22-game schedule in order to be allowed to enter the state playoffs at its meeting on Wednesday, which should help take the burden off trying to squeeze 11 games into a time period of Feb. 1 to March 15, which also has to include a district playoff tournament.

Fortunately, if a team only gets eight games or so in before the district tournament, it can continue its regular season after being eliminated up until the final week of March when the PIAA championships are held.

Hopefully these adjustments mean District 6 will participate in the PIAA championships, even if teams don’t play their first games until Feb. 1.

The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic girls, one of six area teams that were never eliminated from last year’s PIAA basketball playoffs before they were canceled, have an excellent chance to win a state championship in Class 1A if they get out of District 6.

Glendale’s Brock McMillen, who has won two state championships in a row and recently signed to continue his wrestling career at Pitt, has a great opportunity to win a third title as a senior despite a reduced field making it to Hershey.

And there are plenty of area swimmers who made the trip to Bucknell last year only to be told the state championship was being delayed (it was eventually canceled) who would love a second chance.

It certainly seems strange that the majority of the state will be hosting at least a few games tonight. It’s also tough to swallow considering the PIAA continually had pushed for teams to start the season and get practices in with the anticipation of Thursday’s shut down, but some local conferences have shut down schools that could have possibly been already practicing and be in a position to play tonight before Saturday’s halt to sports.

But it’s also important to remember that at this point, it’s almost impossible to not know someone who has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how serious it is, especially in this area right now.

We just have to keep in mind that there are still 16 more weeks to get these games in, and there’s no reason to panic just yet.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com. Follow him on Twitter @BoytimMichael

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