Dear Columbus League Participants:
The recent announcements in response to corona virus certainly have been eye-openers for many of us, and perhaps they’ve been a little scary for the young athletes. Like you, I’m making a special effort to reassure our athletes that there’s no need to panic, noting to them that the measures being taken by leadership are both pro-active and preventive, intended to keep us far from harm, rather than wait until the problem is much more serious. Yes, many difficult decisions are being made, but doing so now nips this problem in the bud.
Guided by the leadership of others, The Columbus League is also responding to corona virus concerns. Beginning earlier this week, board members began exchanging e-mails to begin making adjustments to our upcoming 2020 season. To this end, the board will be meeting on Monday evening of next week to finalize many of the plans.
Out of an abundance of caution and a desire to minimize spread of the illness, I have already made the following adjustments:
- Our Sunday, March 22nd and Sunday, March 29th meets have been cancelled. Efforts are underway with the county to reschedule one or both of the cancelled meets to occur on a Sunday between the middle of April and the end of May, though we cannot guarantee we will be permitted to do so.
- Our April 5th meet is uncertain. I expect the subject to be discussed at our next board meeting, but would like to point out that the meet may not occur, even if the various entities that govern our activities — the state, the county and the ADW among them — give us the green light.
- Athlete registrations will not be due until April 3rd, given these schedule adjustments. A further adjustment to the registration deadline may occur after our Monday meeting, if we also choose to cancel the April 5th meet.
At our upcoming board meeting, I will ask our board to consider a variety of other adjustments, including starting the season after Easter break, introducing preventive hygiene measures, and changing a variety of existing meet procedures in order to decrease physical contact, increase physical distance and reduce the potential threat of illness during our meets. I will also listen to their thoughts and ideas on the matter; there is much wisdom in the group.
Though I’ve never been through an epidemic, I have been through a number of disasters throughout my life, including multiple Buffalo blizzards, two major California earthquakes, a number of east coast hurricanes, and 9/11. While each these were sometimes scary and sad events, I look back on the bulk of them with positive memories — not because the disasters themselves were positive, but because of how we dealt with them. In nearly every case, God blessed us with the opportunity to spend more time with family, with the chance to get to know our neighbors better and with the opportunity to pull together as a community.
In closing, as we make these adjustments, rest assured that the safety of all of our young competitors, coaches, parents and meet attendees will take first priority. And, while we may not have much of a track and field season in 2020, we will have an opportunity to grow closer together, help each other through difficult times and strengthen our faith in God. Perhaps this is the silver lining we can bring to the cloud now hovering of us.
Donald J. Patti