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Marty Stuart
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Rules are not made to be broken

May 21, 2020 - 06:00
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  • Rules are not made to be broken

On April 2, the sporting world in the high school ranks came to a screaming halt as we all know. The seniors suffered the most obviously but so did all the other athletes who worked tirelessly to get ready for their respective spring sport.

Another big blow was felt when spring football practice was also File 13’ed. No workouts, no nothing. Each student-athlete has been left to fend for themselves with some virtual guidance from coaches on workout recommendations and so forth. But no face-to-face tutelage.

As it stands now, the GHSA executive director Robin Hines put out a statement that says, to paraphrase, ignore all the rumors you are hearing about football starting back. A plan is not imminent, we are working on it as fast as we can and you will hear it from my mouth when a decision has been made. Ah righty then. That about sums it up for now.

I am hearing reports of some schools outside of Putnam County putting together informal sevenon-seven drills, with no coaches present. Do you really believe there aren’t any coaches lurking in the shadows? And other types of “drills” have been mentioned. Still no coaches.

I fully understand the anxiousness of coaches and players wanting to get back out on the field and work out. Summer is here and the state of Georgia, among others, are “open for business.”

So why aren’t high school football workouts allowed?

The answer comes directly from the GHSA. Nope. Not now. Period. Paragraph. And I applaud them for that. Here is where I draw my line.

I, too, would love to be covering Putnam County football right now. But not at the possible cost of a young person’s life. We know that people can show signs of being asymptomatic but still have the virus.

What do you think the fallout would be if a kid showed up at one of these workouts, gets the virus, and ends up on the tragic end of COVID-19? Oh my goodness. It would go far from Katie barring the door. Even if she put spikes in it.

The cost is way too high. The coaches who are skirting the rules and putting their kids in harm’s way need to be stopped. It is just not worth it. Even to win a state championship. The sad part is it will only take one, just one, and the phrase “I’m sorry” will echo throughout the land. Not enough. Not now.

The NFL did a good job with the 2020 draft. I thought it was responsible and served a mighty purpose for the future of the NFL when play resumes. And no one was put at risk. Back to the states who are open for business. The NFL ruled those teams in those states can reopen their facilities. With a long list of rules in place. I can’t seem to grasp taking such a big chance. To err on the side of caution.

We all know that big, big money is in play here. But is one thin dime worth a life? I am a huge Atlanta Falcons fan and I, too, clamor to see the season start but when it is right.

I can’t help it. I am just not about pulling the string prematurely.

Rest assured, the football world will be watching the pro teams that open their facilities to gain invaluable knowledge on the systems in place and how they worked going forward toward the fall. I hope the rules are enough and are followed.

College teams seem to think mid-July will be their time. And it could very well be. The SEC is slated to meet in mid-June and see where they’re at. The question has been posed to me a couple of times. What would our country do without college football? Watch Xanax and Valium sales go up.

But seriously, I have thought about the answer. I stopped to get a cup of coffee before I got sick and I struck up this conversation with this old codger while we waited in line, six feet apart. He was decked out in his Georgia red and black and was football wise. I asked him what he thought about the possibility of no college football season.

He turned his head at me, cocked one eye and said not to worry; we’d play college football in the fall. I asked him how so and he started laughing.

“Very simple,” he said. “The Red states will play college football while the Blue states will keep their [backsides] at home.”

Rules are not made to be broken. Only decided over a cup of joe.