The NJSIAA continued their amazing work today trying to keep player safety at the highest level and still have a semblance of a high school sports season for student athletes. Nobody said it was going to be easy to plan for a pandemic. They have had the courage to act and make unpopular decisions. They have used data and information to guide them. They have an enormous task of taking thousands of different factors into consideration as part of their planning process. And with the current state of the world, it will be impossible to keep everyone happy.

Their decision today to move the girls volleyball season to a newly created winter/spring segment commencing with practices on February 16 and a season start on March 3 is the current solution. This is all still subject to change as is the dynamic world the pandemic brings to the daily table. The delay is geared toward player safety and has leveraged the best intelligence in the state to guide the conclusion. It’s not perfect. Nothing CAN be. And that’s okay from our perspective.

How we deal with the decision is another story. Social media is already bombarded with brimming negative comments about how it’s not fair, how it won’t work, how the NJSIAA is useless, and literally hundreds of negatively driven comments that are indicative in the world we currently live in. The population in NJ is currently stressed, anxiety filled, angry, depressed, and tons of other emotions that are too numerous to list. It’s easy right now to find all the reasons wrong with the plan and vent those feelings out for all to see. It’s human nature.

NJP however strives for the “perfect” world. In a “perfect” world we would all by trying to figure out how to make the plan work. We would be putting our energy into solving the many challenges that tough decisions like this will produce. We would be grateful that we can still have a season at all. We would be forgiving and understanding when it comes to scheduling and making gym availability across multiple sports teams a possibility. And we would be encouraging our student athletes to appreciate the fact that they will still have a season to treasure and create memories.

Many of our staff were here during 9/11. The focus was much different then. People valued each other. They would go out of their way to be encouraging and thoughtful during difficult times. They rallied together, fund-raised, donated their time, and worked collaboratively to figure stuff out. There was a positive spirit that prevailed.. and you could feel it. When faced with massive diversity, there was “good” that came from it during an impossible situation and unprecedented times. NJP covered high school hockey back then. We were proud to see American Flags being put on players uniforms and jersey’s. Like our current time, the disaster happened right around club tryout times and accommodations were made and games were cancelled. But no one complained and griped. They took it in stride, valued life, and tried to make the best out of an impossible situation.

So how about giving a shout out to the NJSIAA staff for their tireless efforts of late? Appreciate their sleepless nights as they figured all the angles to try to salvage high school sports seasons. How about offering some constructive suggestions that can make the plan seamless and the best that it can be? And lastly, how about we put a positive spin on a chance for our student athletes to play a sport that they love and represent their school, town and families?

Worth a try? Be a Tigger, not and Eeyore!

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