I contacted the White County Middle School head baseball coach, Roggie Haston, and questioned him about the shutdowns and the pandemic health crisis that is reaching across the nation. Everyone in our nation is being touched in some way. Coach Haston was kind enough to spare some of his time to share with us all. My thanks to Coach Haston for sharing from his heart.
It is a bummer for sure and leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Some of our kids have been going since September, so you really hate to see it, but, at the same time, I cannot and will not argue with the decisions that have been made. I think that these decision are looking out for the kids and also the coaches’ best interest.
It happened so fast that I personally did not get to talk to my team. We were supposed to play Prescott the Monday and Tuesday before the shut down, and we were good to go until Cookeville got shut down. Knowing that we would not be back until April the 6th at that time, I thought it was best to go on and not have practice those two days. So I personally have not talked to the kids. I have had some parents reach out and say thanks for the time we have put in and express their concern to want to play, which I understand.
I’m not an expert by any means and have no sort of inside information, this is just strictly my opinion, but I personally do not see us stepping back on the field this season. Just watching the news, I keep seeing May or July as the end of this situation, and, by that time, we are out of school. Honestly, with the way the weather has been, I haven’t seen many days since we have been out that we could have played anyways. As a middle school coach, this does not affect us majorly. Baseball is important, but, in the grand scheme of things, this is people’s health we are talking about. My 8th graders will be moving up to high school, and I think that excites them more than anything. So this shut down does not hit at the middle school level as much as it does the high school or college level. However, we had a great group of kids this year with collectively a lot of talent. It is a team I for sure would have liked to seen on the field in mid-April with good weather. I think they had the opportunity to surprise some people and give a good run in the conference tournament.
We still have our remind app active if anyone needs to get ahold of me, but, other than that, there hasn’t been much contact. I know this shutdown pushed the MLB start back and shut spring training down. That sent home Ethan early, which I really hate that, but it has given him the chance to work a little more with some kids that he works with. You hate to see his season shut down, but, even his season being shut down, he still comes home and tries to better our program by working with these kids and help grow baseball in the community.
We had a conversation with the boys the week of the tornados and told them that could have been easily Sparta as much as Cookeville - that we never know when the last time we lace our spikes on and take the field will be. Little did I know it would just be two weeks later.
As a coach and a player, we always talk about things we can control. The answer is always one thing, ourselves. I think this holds true to this situation - this is out of everyone’s hands. Obviously, no one wants anything like this to happen, but we have to remember there is only one controllable substance during all of this, and that is ourselves. We try to have a growth mindset to the fact that we never lose a ballgame. Even in the losses, if we sit back and look at why we lost that game or what we could have done better and get better because of that loss, then, personally, I don’t see that as a loss. Yes, this is a bad situation but if we can look at what we can learn from this or what are some good things going on right now and have a growth mindset during this situation then at the end of the day we are all good. It is in God’s hands, and he is the only one that can do anything about it, so we need to give it up to him, let him do is job and just keep living. I want to say that I know these decisions that have been made are not easy decisions, and I respect everyone that is making them and stand 100 percent behind the decisions that have been made school-wide, countywide, or even as far as TSSAA-wide. At the end of the day, taking care of kids is our job, and I think that’s what every decision has been about. I miss my guys, and I love my guys, but if this decision keeps them safe and healthy then that’s the best decision to be made.