CHRIS MOORE — Bulldogs’ outbreak highlights uncertain season

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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A virus broke out in the cathedral this week.

One of the state’s most recognized religions was forced to a standstill after the world, from which so many use sports as an escape, made its way past the mascots, cheerleaders and inflatables.

The news of Nederland’s canceled home opener hit Southeast Texas football like a ton of bricks. The question was never “if,” but “when” would Southeast Texas football be forced to reconcile with canceled games.

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Of course, the news was disappointing for the seniors who wait to start what will be, for many, their final football season. This news was also disappointing for underclassmen, who have long waited to run on to the field under the famed Friday night lights.

And it will be disappointing when it happens to another team, which it will. In all of the uncertainty of 2020, the fact that we will be forced to continue to deal with coronavirus is inevitable.

On Monday, Houston Austin canceled its game against Nederland, citing the outbreak. Who can blame Austin? One could argue that worrying about illness, while repetitively colliding into each other for two hours, is a bit backward, but the long-term risks of playing football are well documented, while the long-term risks of contracting the coronavirus are still being researched.

The news of the canceled games came after the sobering milestone of 1 million worldwide coronavirus deaths this year. The flu has killed fewer than 350,000 worldwide this year for comparison.

On Tuesday, the NFL shut down the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings facilities while they try to get a grasp on an outbreak among the Titans players and staff. If the NFL, which operates on doing whatever it takes to keep the money flowing, decides to shut things down to get a handle on the virus, Texas high school football can, too.

High school students aren’t in a bubble, like the NBA has successfully pulled off. They live in the world and are exposed to it on a daily basis, making this impossible to prevent from happening at any school, no matter the precautions.

There is no simple answer for the right move with high school athletics as there is no simple answer for if we should even have children in school.

But, if we want to have some sense of normalcy and return to our Friday night services, we must understand that it is at best fragile.

We are not guaranteed that our favorite football teams will run onto the field Friday, or Sunday for that matter.

As we approach flu season, it is important to remember that we are not guaranteed a full football season either. While the vast majority of the student athletes that catch COVID-19 will likely not suffer serious damage, it is not unprecedented.

We can miss a game or two, to get control of a spread. Honestly, we can cancel the season if it risks the safety of the community.