JUDD: It's beginning to look a lot like March, again

I was really hoping I wouldn't have to write this but, as time went on during the past week, in the back of my mind it was starting to feel all but inevitable.

In case anyone doesn't know what I'm referring to, prep sports across this great state of ours have gotten the axe for the second time this year.

With more COVID-19 cases mounting each day and the fall sports season nearing its scheduled conclusion, I couldn't help but an announcement was coming.

Any hopeful optimism I'd been clinging to as the fall calendar began to wind down was all but dashed on Friday afternoon when Reed City's District Championship game against Kingsley was canceled after a coach on Kingsley's staff tested positive.

From that point, it was starting to look eerily similar to what happened back in March when all play was put on what turned out to be an indefinite hiatus.

As basketball practices were due to commence for schools across Michigan today, deep down I just had a feeling that it simply would not come to pass.

Covering various football, soccer and volleyball games since the fall campaign was officially given the green light a couple of months ago was definitely a breath of fresh air, especially considering the fact that many of us didn't think we'd see any prep autumn sports at all.

But, as the respective seasons progressed and the question of the proceeding season came into the forefront, even the most hopefully optimistic folks saw the writing on the wall.

There is just something about it that seems poetically cruel about the whole thing: teams doing their best to stay focused on the task at hand and block out the insanity of the outside world, while that insanity slowly but surely crept into gymnasiums everywhere.

Rumors churned, coaches shared their concerns and outlined their respective plans to move forward with caution, not knowing what the next day could bring.

After going months without any sports, the thought of having them taken away once again was an upsetting one, but one I was well-prepared to take on.

Just like clockwork, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's announcement came and we're now within 48 hours of another shutdown.

I suppose in that regard, things are starting to have a March-vibe to them, only without all the day-to-day anxieties of being a sports reporter with no sports to cover.

Much like I said the last time this happened, the health and safety of everyone involved with high-school athletics far outweighs anything else right now.

As frustrating as it is to know there will be another long pause with no sports to attend, it's what has to happen right now.

There's few things in this world I enjoy more than being on the sidelines with my camera, particularly when local teams are making pushes for district and regional titles, or when a new basketball season is tipped off on opening night.

I know I'll be back out there soon, but it's clear that now is not the time.

All cliches aside -- it is what it is.

Be safe, take care of your loved ones and stay positive.

Joe Judd is a sports reporter for the Lake County Star. He can be reached at joe.judd@pioneergroup.com.