By Kyle Daubs
Anxious is the best way to describe everyone’s feelings.
It will be at least one more week until coaches, athletes, and spectators will know more about their upcoming fall seasons. The Illinois High School Association pushed its meeting to determine guidelines back a week to July 29. The Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education will take part in the discussion said Executive Director Craig Anderson stated in an emailed statement.
“Disappointed,” said MHS boys golf Bill Behrens about the postponement. “Kids and families deserve to know whether or not they will be able to play sports this year.”
“I’m trying to stay optimistic as possible, but that is quite difficult when postponements and all the uncertainty circles around the sports world,” said CMS softball coach Blain Mayhall. “I hate this for the kids.”
Earlier this month, the IHSA released its Phase 4 plan to return to play, but the plan was rolled back after the Illinois Department of Health did not allow contact. Then, on July 14, the IHSA said it would defer all decisions to the Illinois Department of Health, Illinois State Board of Education, and governor’s office.
Coaches were hopeful to receive more guidance today, but will continue to wait one more week.
“I feel like there are so many unknown factors during these unprecedented times,” said MHS girls golf coach Natalie Ambuehl. “Personally, I’m trying to be patient and roll with the plans the decision-makers put in place. I’m certainly not the expert. At the end of the day, I want everyone safe and healthy.”
The first official day of high school sports practices is Aug. 10.
“Just anxious,” said CHS football coach Jerry Payne. “We are going to continue to do what we’re doing and follow the guidelines. I understand what’s at stake here. We’re just trying to hold on here.”
Schools in Illinois have had to stop summer workouts due to positive COVID-19 tests. Payne has heard about concerns at schools near Peoria, such as Dunlap and Peoria Notre Dame.
“It makes you think a little bit more about being as efficient as you can with temperature checks and making smart decisions,” said Payne. “All you can do is be cautious. We have a coach and manager with rags and spray wiping everything down.”
With one week before a decision from IHSA, Payne is hopeful that the board does not cancel the fall football season.
“I’m a realist,” Payne said. “I know that with all the signs there is a possibility that it could be postponed to the spring. We hope that is the worst-case scenario. I would hate to see it canceled when spring sports is an option.”