BENNETT'S MINUTES: Prep sports conquering COVID so far

Friday, September 25, 2020
South Putnam sophomore football manager Hanna Teipen is protected by a mask during the team's game with Cloverdale earlier this fall.
Banner Graphic/JOEY BENNETT

It hasn’t been perfect, but the high school sports season has gone off far better than many people anticipated to this point in regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Some football games have been postponed due to COVID-19, which was expected, but the total number is much lower than I would have expected.

The other fall sports (golf, tennis, soccer, volleyball and cross country) appear to have had minimal problems with athletes testing positive. Football game cancellations obviously get more publicity, and while contests in the other sports have probably also been affected on a lesser level it really hasn’t been that bad.

Athletes appear to have taken very seriously the notion of staying socially distant, being masked and staying out of social gatherings that could increase their exposure — and they all should be commended for that.

From what has happened so far, the decision to start fall sports as scheduled seems to have been the correct one.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see any high school sports in person for the past few weeks as I was quarantined at home with COVID-19. Fortunately, a new computer application linking my home computer with my machine at work has allowed me to continue to produce the Banner Graphic sports section from home.

Interviews with Featured Senior Athletes (still not “Athlete of the Week,” by the way) have taken place over the phone and the whole process has been pretty smooth.

I feel very fortunate that while I know several people who have died from the virus that my illness was much more benign in nature than some people I have heard about. Not surprisingly, I suppose, my wife came down with it five days after I did.

Kind of like the high school athletes who have had to miss competitions due to not having the virus but from contact tracing, my symptoms stopped about a week ago — but I still didn’t feel comfortable with going out in public with the possibility of spreading the virus.

(If you want to follow my journey in more detail, go to the “blog” section at where I wrote several entries detailing my experience.)

Colleges have obviously had many more problems within their football programs, with more temptations of potentially dangerous social gatherings unquestionably one of the leading contributors to those issues.

Whatever your politics are, or whether you believe the masks help or not, our student-athletes should be commended for doing everything within their control to allow their competitions to be able to happen.

While the fall sports season is unbelievably growing toward its state tournament levels, many people have questioned how basketball season will go.

Normally, many more fans want to attend basketball games that are obviously held indoors during the natural cold and flu season. More sneezing, more potential for spreading germs of all kinds. Possibly an even bigger recipe for problems.

I am sure plans are already in the works for those situations. Kentucky has taken a rather bizarre step toward making its basketball games healthier with the elimination of the jump ball to start the game. (The first possession will be decided by a coin flip.)

Every little bit helps, I suppose, but this tiny gesture doesn’t seem to have much of an impact.

Let’s enjoy the fall season and this beautiful weather, and hope the virus magically “goes away” by winter as some people believe.