High school players cope with possible sports postponement

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TAYLOR, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Governor Wolf made a bombshell statement Thursday, stirring up local sports.

Wolf recommended in a press conference, school sports be put on hold until January 2021 due to coronavirus. Last week, the PIAA announced it would continue on schedule without spectators. Senior athletes at Riverside High School may never play on this field again.

Parents, players, and coaches tell Eyewitness News they hope the officials making decisions consider that to these kids, it’s so much more than a game. The senior season Riverside quarterback Johnny Gilchrist has been working toward for years is now up in the air.

“The potential loss of our senior season, it’s just heart wrenching,” Gilchrist said.

Thursday morning, head coach Harry Armstrong had a difficult talk with his team as plans for the fall may change once again.

“To a lot of them it’s their identity and when you take away their identity, now who are they and how do they react,” asked Armstrong.

“It was just hard to look in the seniors’ faces and see all the emotion in their eyes,” senior lineman Justin Tigue said.

Wednesday, the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association voted to delay the start of the fall sports season except for girls tennis and golf. Now, the PIAA will decide whether there will be a season at all.

“Things keep changing and unfolding so we’re just kind of going minute but minute right now,” Armstrong said.

For now the field will remain empty. Riverside Vikings put practices on hold until the PIAA makes an announcement on Friday. In addition to not being able to see their kids play, parents like Dr. Karen Gilchrist say they don’t know how to help their kids cope.

“It’s such a devastating loss beyond comprehension for them and they’ve been through a lot,” Gilchrist said.

Armstrong stresses what sports contribute to development: like structure, stability and self worth.

“When we say sports it’s so much more than just a game,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong says they’re willing to make every safety accommodation, even banning spectators, to give these kids a chance to play.

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