Looking back at COVID’s impact on local sports

Looking back at COVID’s impact on local sports

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) -Last March, sports seasons at all levels were canceled or cut short, but for Pearl River men’s basketball, the team lost a chance at a national championship and the work that went into an undefeated season was gone.

“I had to tell the guys that everything happens for a reason sometimes in life things are bigger than sports,” said Pearl River men’s basketball coach Chris Oney. “We have to find a way to find the silver lining. The one thing though that no one can ever take away from us is we were ranked number one going into the national tournament.”

But now teams are looking to bounce back.

The Wildcats are off to a great start and hope to make a deep run in the postseason again.

Mississippi Gulf Coast baseball also had its season cut short, but is now back in full swing.

“It’s been a long road, it’s been a long year but we’ve learned a lot, that’s for sure,” said Gulf Coast baseball coach Wes Thigpen. “We have the opportunity now for our guys to come out here and be able to compete on the field is awesome.”

COVID’S impact didn’t stop at the JUCO level.

High school programs across the coast have waited almost a year to get back in action

“It was a grind. Early on it was hard for them to get back into it and for us, as coaches, we had to stay on them in that sense,” said Pass Christian baseball coach Ricky Smith. “Once they turned that corner of getting in shape they were excited.”

“It takes a little bit to get back into it, they’re happy to be here,” said Harrison Central softball coach Jimmy Parker. “At the same time, I think it’s on the back of everyone’s minds especially the seniors, that this could happen again.”

For last year’s seniors, it’s, unfortunately, a season they’ll never get back, but for this year’s senior class, they’re putting a little extra motivation behind every swing.

“I had a bunch of good friends that played baseball that were seniors,” said Pass Christian senior Corben Williams. “I played 15 games with them and I wasn’t ready for it to be over with them. I’m just hoping I get to finish out my year and play with the people I love.”

“Being a senior it’s like you go 100 percent on everything, make everything as good as it can be,” said Harrison Central senior Kayla Moran. “Don’t take this season for granted, you know?”

Few things have felt normal in the last year, but as fans return and the game clock starts, we’re inching back to normal.

One swing, one shot, and one day at a time.

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