As our nation goes through one it’s most turbulent times, we must look to our future and how it has been affected by the pandemic. While we missed nearly our entire spring, the virus has continued on past the first day of fall. The normal everyday things we take for granted are restricted and we are feeling the full force from it.

Students and athletes have had their lives rearranged almost completely. With school online, drive-thru graduations, virtual proms and numerous sports canceled, the whole “teenage existence,” has been altered.

Many parents are concerned that this may have long lasting effects on this generation. It is especially hard for the athletes.

Having played sports in school myself, I try to understand what local athletes are feeling presently, knowing what hard work and the mentality that goes into becoming a competitor.

Kids in general need their exercise, however, high school athletes need to be in top condition if they have hopes of playing at the next level. All of the years of pee-wee leagues and AAU, Little Leagues and junior high should be paying off right now. But, that has been taken away in some instances. Though high school football has gotten underway in Kentucky, some teams in West Virginia have yet to see the field. Their fates hang in the hands of The WVSSAC and state officials.

It mentally has to be tough on a player to see Belfry playing across the Tug River and you can’t participate. Even worse, if said player is planning on college and to further their athletic career, it could be devastating not getting to showcase their talent.

Volleyball and basketball teams are praying they can play their full seasons without being affected, but that remains to be seen.

Tug Valley’s football team has gotten in one game on their schedule, however, their neighbor Mingo Central only took the field for the first time last night.

Most athletes are of the type-A personality and tend to be high strung and competitive. It’s sad to see our local kids lose out on any season, especially seniors. Worse yet, there is no mulligan for their lost season. There is no red-shirt for high school players. Once the season is gone, there’s no going back. It’s lost.

That has to be a crushing blow to an 18-year old kid with dreams of playing college. It will also put kids who are underclassman into tough situations by being looked to without that previous season and experience under their belts. Most people feel that kids do need to return to the classroom. They are missing out on key parts of their education, from in-class instruction to socially interacting with their teachers and friends.

We must be ready for the possibility that our kids may not be as prepared as students pre-pandemic,  and we may have to step in to help more than ever to help them get there.

We can’t wait to showcase the talented athletes in our pages.

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