PISCATAWAY, NJ -- Earlier this week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year and that high school spring sports were officially not happening.
That means there will be no long toss or pinging of the bats, tennis balls bouncing off the courts, runners sprinting on the track, volleyballs getting spiked over the net, or holes in ones on the golf course.
On Wednesday, TAPinto Piscataway caught up with Piscataway High School Athletic Director Rob Harmer who offered his thoughts on the spring season being canceled.
“I am very disappointed in the whole situation and feel terrible for our spring athletes,” Harmer said. “But I understand the importance of keeping our athletes safe and must have that as the first priority over everything else.”
The NJSIAA was committed to keeping hope alive of having spring sports with various start times and plans, which even went until as far as June 30.
But the coronavirus put every thought to bed.
“Following today’s announcement by Governor Murphy, the NJSIAA has officially canceled New Jersey’s 2020 high school spring sports season. This decision was not made lightly, and we are disappointed for the thousands of New Jersey student-athletes who will be unable to compete this spring. While we remained hopeful to the end, and left open every possibility, competition simply is not feasible given the circumstances,” the NJSIAA said in a statement. “The last few weeks have been heartbreaking on many levels, from the tragic loss of life, to thousands battling the virus, to millions who have suffered emotional and economic loss. It’s been a harrowing time for everyone, and we know our student-athletes are extremely disappointed. That said, these unfortunate circumstances may have put an intriguing challenge in the path of our young people. As New Jersey’s own Vince Lombardi once said, ‘It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.’ We’re confident all our kids will get back up and stand tall.
“The NJSIAA will continue developing plans for the potential restarting of scholastic sports during the fall season. Additional information related both to the summer recess and fall will be shared at a later date.”
One of the sports affected was baseball, and Chiefs head coach Nicholas McKee, who guided the team to the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament last year, feels bad for the seniors who had their season shut down and in-classroom instruction cut short.
“Obviously this is an unprecedented time with the virus and the remote teaching and coaching,” McKee said. “My staff, Robert Stoddard, Dan Barletta, and Kyle Dunich, have done a great job keeping daily contact with the players. We had a team Zoom meeting right after Gov. Murphy’s announcement to close schools for the year and to check their mental state -- especially the seniors.
“The whole situation definitely puts life into perspective, and I pray that everyone, not just my players and families in the Piscataway community, are staying safe. It is a large, close-knit town and the sense of community I’ve seen via social media makes me proud to be a small part of the town. Nothing but well wishes and continued health to everyone. Also, a huge thank you to the first responders who are battling the virus on the front lines.”
While the spring sports season was canceled and the senior student-athletes were forced to be without their last year of competition together at the high school level, McKee and Harmer said something is in the works to honor them.
They didn’t want to reveal anything yet, though.
“We are still spinning our wheels over here to find some way to honor them,” McKee said. “We aren’t jumping the gun on anything because we are waiting on the Superintendent’s decision on how the district wants us to proceed with anything like that. However, I can assure you, the Class of 2020 baseball seniors will be honored the best way that we can.”
Stay tuned to TAPinto Piscataway to see how the school honors the athletes.
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
TAPinto is free and published daily made possible through sponsorships and advertising. Get Your Town's News in Your Inbox: Click Here to sign up. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship and advertising information.