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Understanding the fragility of the 2021 spring sports season

High school student-athletes are incredibly thankful and excited to be back playing sports again, but they're also learning how quickly it can all be taken away.

Posted: Mar 1, 2021 10:20 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2021 10:44 AM

EAGLE POINT, Ore. — The news came hard and fast to Eagle Point football players: their first game in nearly a year and a half was canceled. All the waiting and following health guidelines were supposed to grant them a football game on March 5, but now it's not looking like a reality.

It's a harsh reminder of the world we live in as the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live over the course of the last year. It's the hidden fragility of life we knew was there, but for the most part, ignored.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi often commented on the similarities between football and life. Both require perseverance, hard work and sacrifice. For many high school athletes, the sacrifice of forgoing their normal seasons cost them plenty as the United States struggled to control the pandemic's effect within its borders.

Senior seasons were in jeopardy of never being played. The kind of closure that comes with knowing you've played your last game and gave it everything you could, had to be attributed to a game played in 2019.

But then the Oregon Health Authority and the Governor's Office said sports could return in shortened seasons this spring. Friday nights would once again be lit up by the lights of football fields around Oregon, including Eagle Point. But once again, a reminder of how fragile it all is, although this is a reality the Eagles prepared for this spring.

"Players know, be flexible," Eagle Point head coach Erik Johnson said. "I don't know what's going to happen from day-to-day or week-to-week like just be flexible and if something happens we'll figure it out. We're just going to control what we can and practice and any way we can get on the field we'll take it."

For some seniors, they're understandably disappointed they probably won't be playing football this Friday, while so many other high schools do. But they're finding the best in an unfortunate situation.

"Honestly it's just having fun out here," senior Lucas Meerten said. "Making bonds with my brothers out here it's always fun at practice, just having a good time whether or not we get the game or not. Like next week's not always promised so make what we have good." 

Nothing is ever promised in this life, especially not football games in a pandemic. But the players will continue to hold onto hope and be ready for when they finally get the chance to play again on a Friday night.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513391

Reported Deaths: 5883
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah85131935
Washington61187460
Marion49387563
Clackamas44922456
Lane38991396
Deschutes33440225
Jackson30929408
Linn18298217
Umatilla17891190
Douglas15407320
Yamhill12414168
Josephine12201284
Polk10651112
Klamath10267178
Benton971546
Coos7772128
Malheur652995
Columbia539166
Jefferson525370
Lincoln470960
Crook419262
Union387065
Wasco369450
Clatsop338037
Tillamook271154
Hood River262138
Baker253938
Curry237040
Morrow235226
Grant128517
Harney128334
Lake111523
Wallowa87913
Sherman2283
Gilliam2224
Wheeler1652
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 6871649

Reported Deaths: 77723
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles221366428008
San Diego5954204540
Riverside4858265578
San Bernardino4697826233
Orange4590165921
Santa Clara2243781974
Sacramento2194612586
Alameda1850991561
Fresno1816732415
Kern1811121964
Contra Costa1429721082
Ventura1407591229
San Joaquin1321541954
Stanislaus1065121504
Tulare976131192
San Francisco94872692
San Mateo87189644
Santa Barbara64767579
Monterey63352647
Sonoma60574426
Solano60463389
Placer52773504
Merced51903715
Imperial48136817
San Luis Obispo40433374
Kings39671391
Santa Cruz30851235
Butte29792348
Yolo29260270
Madera27294333
Marin26572251
Shasta24828506
El Dorado22700175
Napa17946109
Sutter16942197
Humboldt13801128
Yuba12784101
Nevada12310111
Tehama11412141
San Benito1017789
Mendocino9534102
Tuolumne921491
Lassen860659
Lake7967117
Unassigned71533
Amador656372
Calaveras538893
Siskiyou535962
Glenn508039
Del Norte415043
Colusa362321
Inyo346849
Mono25944
Plumas225512
Mariposa216118
Trinity109519
Modoc8476
Sierra2320
Alpine1170
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