Hugh Mills Stadium
This has never happened before in the long history of Georgia high school track and field. I went deep into the GHSA archives, and it's the first time a track season has been canceled just a few weeks after it got cranked up. Now, there is no data with the GHSA Track Championships pre-1950, but during the Korean War, the outdoor track season was not affected. And, more specifically, during the Vietnam War, there was little impact on how high school sports and boys track and field were contested.
A microbe, that has no conscience or feelings, only a genetic impulse to replicate, has ravaged the world and our country, destroying the outdoor track and field season, all other spring high school sports as well as collegiate and pro sports.
'Shocked' is the only word that comes to mind. But, the 2020 outdoor season has been lost. The state championships would have been ending today at Berry College, Carrollton HS, and Hugh Mills Stadium down in Albany. All great venues to host state meets, but now, resembling ghost towns, locked gates, empty seats, and silence.
Imagine how this economically affected the cities that were hosting these meets. The lost revenue from the gate, concessions, hotel rooms, restaurants, etc. The media coverage given to each site, starting with MileSplit GA, followed by the local/metro media outlets and the video/live-stream shot by the NFHS of distance finals Thursday and Friday, capped off with Saturday finals.
The outdoor season was in full swing by Week 5, with almost 25 invitationals scheduled for Friday (the 13th) and Saturday. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope at that time, but with a lot of time suddenly on our hands, (and watching the news) it became apparent the situation was far worse than anyone could have foreseen and by April 2, schools and the season was shut down.
Dedicated coaches who loved the sport were hit hard by this unexpected pandemic. Coaches who often sacrificed up to 30 hours or more of their time each week training student-athletes and helping mold young minds to be successful adults as well. Aspirations and dreams of winning region, and for some state championships. Hopes for their elite athletes with the same goals in mind, now a pipedream. Anxious times indeed.
It was maybe most painful for the athletes, as they were the ones who put in all the hard work to reach this point. Many who had been working for this moment since middle school and earlier in club track. Seniors having one last shot at glory in their high school career, underclassmen ready to embrace the challenge, and the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshmen just thrilled to compete in their first HS state meet.
Where do we pick up and go from here? All this outdoor season could have been is gone... Let's get over it and accept the fact we were powerless to prevent this from happening, have some faith in science and our leaders, so that you can be back in the classroom, onto the trails, gym, pool, and track this 2020-2021 school term. Keep the faith, train, and stay safe.