RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Tueday’s announcement of a delayed fall sports season actually brought a feeling of relief to some, like Pearl Head Football Coach Justin Hunter.
“Just super proud for the kids, especially the seniors,” said Hunter. “(We were) heartbroken in the spring when the baseball kids and the track kids got theirs taken away from them short, and like I said, just those seniors, you’re never going to get it back. High school sports are the best times of our lives.”
For parents, it wasn’t just about wanting to watch their kids, it’s about the role sports play in their lives.
“I was excited because I was worried about them not having sports at all and I know sports are a huge part of my kid’s lives. And really a motivation for them in school and other things like that,” said Crystal Kirby, whose sons are student athletes at Northwest Rankin.
For students with aspirations of playing college ball, having a football season is imperative.
“If they got that taken away, for instance some of them might not have made it to college, or some would have to come out of pocket for college, and that’s a big deal,” said Hunter.
Brent Cobb is the vice president of the booster club at Richland High School.
“A lot of these kids in our town have the talent to play elsewhere and if they don’t have that opportunity to play in front of coaches, then they’re going to have issues going to colleges and stuff like that and bettering themselves,” said Cobb.
The coronavirus has also affected high school sports in other ways. For booster clubs like Richland High School’s, fundraising has become dependent on creative thinking.
“Being a 4A school, we don’t get whole lot of sports money from Rankin County as the 6A schools do, so we do a lot of different fundraisers and we’re having to think outside the box to be able to do it,” Cobb said.