One big question: What will it mean if there is no postseason high school sports this season?
The condensed high school sports season that will unfold this upcoming school year in Illinois doesn’t guarantee a state champion.
In any sport. In any season. Such is life amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Some schools that have released their schedules, whether it’s for the current fall season or upcoming winter slate, have planned on the potential of some type of postseason action. But it will look far different from past seasons, with IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson indicating last month postseason events may take on more of a regionalized approach. If they happen at all.
Veteran Rantoul softball coach Travis Flesner, who doubles as the school’s athletic director, said it’s an unfortunate situation. For everyone involved in high school athletics.
“As a competitor, you always look to play in that moment whether it’s win or go home,” Flesner said. “As a softball coach, we might go through ups and downs during the season, and I would always refer back to, ‘Well, remember what we’re trying to play for. We’re trying to play our best softball at the end of the year. Keep pushing.’ If there’s no reason to keep working hard and if you’re struggling with three games left in the season, why wouldn’t a team just bag it in because there’s nothing to continue to improve on.”
If any aspect of life has proven itself during the past five-plus months, the pandemic is a fluid and ongoing situation. Directives issued one day could be reversed the next. The same situation may apply for this school year when it comes to postseason athletic events. In other words: stay tuned.
“As you go into the postseason, on any given day, you can have an upset,” Flesner said. “You lose that opportunity completely if there is no state series.”