PEORIA, Ill. — From the start of sports season in August to the end in May, high school athletic directors barely have a chance to catch their breath. Except for this year. The IHSA shutdown has left many wondering what to do.
“Yesterday I stayed at home, I didn’t do anything,” Pekin athletic director Barry Gurvey said. “I walked outside to check something on my house and that was about it. And I was bored beyond belief.”
“I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something. I mean, especially with spring sports, you get very busy,” Washington athletic director Herb Knoblauch said. “There is something going on six days a week at this school.”
Every high school in the state is having those exact same thoughts. The athletics shutdown is affecting coaches, players and even how businesses are being operated.
“We kind of prepare our athletes to overcome challenges, and overcome things that, that’s why we do what we do after school. Here it is,” Knoblauch said. “There’s a lot of seniors out there, a lot of kids out there, almost mourning missing their athletics right now.”
“You come to a baseball game or you come to a softball game or you’re out at a tennis match, and then afterwards, mom and dad are like ‘I’m not going to cook tonight.’ So all these local business that see an uptick in business because people are coming to our community, those are the people that are losing,” Gurvey said.
With hope of playing any form of a spring season, one thing is for certain: When we do get sports back, communities will be ready to support their teams and may be more united than ever.
“We’re hoping the silver lining of this is that families will get tighter. That family unit. Because if you do have a child thats in sports, they’re busy all the time,” Knoblauch said. “Maybe the strengthening of that family unit, getting them stronger, so when we do come back we’re ready to go.”