Opinion column: Doing the right thing is not always easy


Russ Kent Galion Inquirer

Russ Kent Galion Inquirer


It stinks. But the Ohio High School Athletic Association made the right call.

All day Thursday I sat at my work desk, my phone on my left side and the TV in front of me, watching and reading listening to cancelation after cancelation.

On Thursday afternoon, the OHSAA got it right when they postponed the remaining postseasons for winter sports teams.

I know, easy for me to say. But I won’t be convinced otherwise.

I feel terrible for the Northmor wrestlers who were prepping for their Friday trip to the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. I don’t know if they’ll ever get the chance to compete on that level again.

I hope so.

But it was the right call.

Doing the wrong thing is easy. Doing the right thing, is sometimes gut-wrenching.

Tough decisions are always difficult.

The OHSAA was in a no-win situation.

In future weeks and months … perhaps years … I hope it will be written that the right decision was made here.

But it’s hard to prove a negative. The positive effects of this decision will never really be know. They are too hard too quantify.

In many eyes, this will never be the correct decision.

And I understand that point of view.

But sometimes we need to be protected from ourselves.

This is one of those times.

Some of the decisions made Thursday could have been made days ago.

But someone had to start the ball rolling.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, turned out to be that guy.

He pulled the trigger after learning that one member of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. On Wednesday evening, Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 before a game.

The game was postponed, as was one other late NBA game Wednesday night.

And then, Silver put the NBA season on hold.

Silver had the will to make the hard call.

And the dominoes started falling.

Gobert’s positive test also made this virus real to me and others. It demonstrated how easily COVID-19 can spread. He had no symptoms and had played in several games in recent days. That meant he‘d had close contact with his own teammates and his opponents. Referees and umpires and trainers and team officials and lockerroom visitors and members of the media had also been in close proximity to Gobert.

None knew Gobert had the virus, and had become a possible carrier.

The Utah Jazz had traveled to other sites and arenas and airports, as did the other teams the Jazz had faced with their team officials and families and basketball writers. Pretty soon one person’s positive test had become a problem for dozens — if not hundreds — of other players, fans, workers, hospitality employees and more … and so on … and so on.

Silver’s difficult decision also made the decisions of countless other league commissioners and superintendents that much easier. The speed that team sporting events and games and matches and tournaments were cancelled or suspended has been amazing.

The NHL, MSL and Major League Baseball also suspended action in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Conference championships in basketball were called by the Big Ten and others.

Should they have been called earlier?

Perhaps,.

Butbeing first isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Adam Silver’s decision made subsequent decisions easier. Perhaps even necessary.

I started thinking ‘we’re playing with lives here.’ I think some league commissioners were shamed into suspending or cancelling or postponing leagues and tournaments.

Thousands of non-athletes who work for sports teams and arenas aare going on sabbatical, too. It’s not something they asked for. And it will be difficult to deal with that loss of income, as well as the unknown each will feel for weeks.

I hope billionaire team owners and ultra-wealthy professional athletes remembers those who need their jobs to get buy in life. They all face uncertain futures.

Follow the example of Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers who pledged $100,000 t0 arena workers and others.

The trickle-down theory applies here.

Still, Silver made the right call.

Three days ago I thought differently. I was concerned, but wasn’t losing sleep due to worry.

Now I’m convinced I — and millions of others — were not concerned enough about the spread of COVID-19. On Wednesday night, I slept fitfully. I was up most of the night worrying. Typically, I don’t worry about things I cannot control.

Friday morning, I awoke at 3:15 a.m. and never got back to sleep.

Were all of these cancellations too much too soon?

I don’t know. But, I don’t think so.

Was it too little, too late?

I hope not.

What I do know is that as the number of people being tested in this nation increases, so will the number of those infected.

I also know millions of sports fans across the nation are not going to be cramming themselves into arenas and baseball parks and stadiums and airplanes for at least a couple of weeks. When you extrapolate those numbers forward, the number of possible exposures has been lessened by tens of millions.

And that’s a good thing!

Russ Kent Galion Inquirer
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Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com/

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com/