The softball game between Navarro and Gonzales at Navarro High School on March 13 was the last high school game in the area prior to the shutdown of sports from the UIL on Monday, March 16.
The stoppage of play in the middle of the spring season comes as all sports at the professional and collegiate levels were suspended or cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak.
People in the stands and around the field were talking about it including Laylin Sturms’ mother, April Sturm, her aunt, Ashley Yeats and grandmother, Linda Yeats.
The trio were regulars at the Navarro girls basketball games, as Laylin was the starting point guard — and they were there on Friday as she also starts for the softball team.
“I think it’s heartbreaking,” April said. “While I understand the point of it — sometimes we have to put the good of humanity ahead of the things we love to watch and the support of our kids — but it hurts.”
As of the conversation at the game on March 13, the UIL suspended play until March 29, not going the way of the NCAA, which cancelled all spring sports for the remainder of the season.
“I’m very grateful that they at least just suspended it, to give it an opportunity to see how things are going to respond to the shutdown,” April said. “Hopefully people will do the right thing and we can get this virus slowed down, so that we can get back to sports.”
The UIL then extended that on Thursday to May 4, approximately five weeks later. April was rightly concerned that the suspension might last longer than two weeks.
“Absolutely I’m concerned,” April said. “But you have to support what the experts are telling us and trust that people will listen, do what we have to do to slow the outbreak down, then we can move forward. I’m very grateful that they at least just suspended it, to give it an opportunity to see how things are going to respond to the shutdown. Hopefully people will do the right thing and we can get this virus slowed down, so that we can get back to sports.”
It will be different not going to ball games a couple of nights a week, as she’s done since Laylin began playing sports as a child, April said.
“I guess we’re going to get to enjoy more family time at home and enjoy a slower pace of life that we don’t know much about,” she said. “Between her and my youngest that’s in junior high now and competing, it’s been an almost nightly occurrence — so it’s definitely going to be an adjustment.”
Sturm’s grandmother, Linda, agreed the adjustment was going to be difficult, but thought the shutdown was necessary.
“I know it’s hard for all of the spectators,” she said. “But I think everybody understands the severity of what can spread with this.
“It’s hard on a team that has seniors, in high schools and colleges as well.”
Ashley has a younger daughter at home, which will keep her busy on nights she would have usually been at the ballgames.
“I’ll be home with my seven-year-old — it will be boring though,” she said.
They’ve all gone to Laylin’s games “since she was in Little League,” Linda said. “My daughters played too, so I’ve been a bleacher creature for a long time.”
Linda and Ashley did not think the shutdown was overreaching, and agreed the virus had a better chance of spreading with congregations of people at games.
“I just think the bigger the crowd the more problems you are going to have,” Linda said. ‘If you;’re going to slow this you’re going to have to stop activities where people are going to be there. Americans are not going to stop unless you tell them they have to.”
“I feel the same,” Ashley said. “You’ve got to be careful and we don’t want everybody sick at the same time.”
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .