Section XI Executive Director Tom Combs said the decision to officially cancel the spring sports season “was not an easy one to make.” But he and Nassau County’s Section VIII Executive Director Pat Pizzarelli both announced their rulings to do so April 21.
“In what the world is experiencing at this time, it is the most prudent decision to make,” Combs said. “This decision was made in the best interest of the health and safety of all of our student-athletes, staffs, and communities.”
Combs said it was made final after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s extension of school closures to May 15 and “much discussion and consideration,” especially over the past 24 hours. The ruling was voted on unanimously and affects all 2020 spring sports teams at all levels.
“The health and safety of the student-athletes, district staffs, and communities of Nassau County remain our top priority and was the driving force behind this difficult decision,” Pizzarelli reiterated. “We look forward to continuing to serve our athletic community, and to brighter days ahead.”
Some say it was the right thing to do.
“While crushing, this is the best decision to make for the health and safety of all concerned,” said retired physical education teacher and athletic director Mary Lou Assante of Rock Hill. “I commend Section XI athletic directors for having the courage to make the tough decisions. It is not an easy job.”
Some parents and fans say the executive directors jumped the gun.
“Why make this announcement now?” Bill Staak asked. “Kids are holding onto hope which was just taken away from them.”
Many East End athletes were optimistic, even just last week, although right before Cuomo extended his PAUSE executive order.
“It’s tough to wrap my head around the fact that there is possibly no baseball season,” said Pierson senior Matt Hall, a right-handed pitcher on the Sag Harbor Whalers’ baseball team. “We were all excited to have one last shot at a state championship, especially after how last season ended. We are all just hoping that we get the opportunity to play, even if it’s a shortened season.”
Many felt for the student-athletes and especially the seniors affected by the decision.
“The poor senior athletes,” Mike Mars of Ridge said. “It’s just not fair — they will never have their last high school season and never experience a true senior day. Too sad.”
Thomas McCandless, of Lindenhurst, said he believes regardless of when the agreement was met it would have inevitably happened, saying he believes schools will eventually be closed for the remainder of the school year.
“I think they should have waited to May 1,” McCandless said. “This was hope for a lot of kids to get back to a normal routine. They jumped the gun on this. I do believe though, that we are not going back to school as well, so it’s irrelevant.”
Others think these Nassau and Suffolk County decisions will lead to the closures.
“With that same logic, I assume it won’t be safe enough for kids to sit three feet away from each other in a classroom this year either, rather than 40 feet apart on a baseball field?” Chris West of Ward Melville asked.
Suggestions were made to Section XI to either host a senior game in the summer, if possible, or consider summer leagues if safe.
Some students also took to Twitter to react to the news.
“I’m crushed,” John Pastorelli of Holbrook said. “This is really unfortunate.”
“It sucks that I’ll never play another game of baseball in my life,” Plainview-Old Bethpage’s Luke Zuckerman said. “All I can do is thank all my coaches that I’ve ever had for teaching me every important lesson I need to know, and all my boys for being there with me.”
Those like Westhampton Beach girls lacrosse five-year starter Belle Smith understood that a decision to cancel the spring sports season would be for a greater good.
“There’s a lot going on in the world right now even bigger than lacrosse,” the senior said. “I just think that as much as I feel my life is hectic right now, every single person is feeling the same about something else in their own lives, which causes me to be less upset and just more grateful that everyone in my life right now is happy and healthy. We can only control the controllables, so even though we are unsure when life will go back to ‘normal,’ we have to make do with what we have and be grateful for the little things and look on the bright side.”
Hampton Baseball League Moves Back Start Date
In a letter to Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League players, President Sandi Kruel said the league-wide opening day date of June 1 is no longer possible as a result of the stay-at-home order being extended.
“Unfortunately, we are currently in a ‘wait-and-see’ holding pattern. This is obviously the most challenging time we have experiences as a league. We know athletes want to play baseball, and we want to get the players on the field,” Kruel said. “We have been discussing various scenarios and potential adaptations for when and where baseball can safely be played. However, each scenario is limited by the extension of stay-at-home orders, and when these extensions occur, each scenario needs to be adapted to fit the evolving circumstances. We will continue to discuss alternative scenarios, keeping in mind that a season is only possible if adequate safeguards can be put in place to keep the players, personnel, and fans safe.”