Navigating Pandemic Has Been Tough For TSSAA
The outlook for Tennessee high school sports was grim this time last year because of the pandemic. Luckily everything appears to be getting back to normal for the TSSAA.
News 12’s Angela Moryan caught up with chairman Bernard Childress.
Said Childress: “It’s been a difficult year, for everyone. No doubt about it. But we’re just so happy to be here.”
It was hard to see the light at the end of the very dark tunnel when the pandemic halted high school sports last March. Come July, a dim — multicolored light — started to take shape.
Said Childress: “Just when we thought we had it, we have some rules and we have some regulations that we can present to the Governor’s team which everyone knows we were working with, that we think will work for our student athletes, then an hour later, it changed. … We started color-coding our changes because we couldn’t even keep up with the changes being made.”
You couldn’t keep up with the schedule changes made during football season either — but it happened, complete with gold ball trophies.
The TSSAA lost $890,000 during the shutdown. Though a smaller number than expected, this year’s championships haven’t made a dent in the difference.
Said Childress: “We did not make up for it. There’s no way because we had to limit our attendance at all of our events. So this is not the year that we’re going to make up for any of that money whatsoever. … For us, it’s not about the money. I know a lot of people say that, but it’s about these kids competing, and if we had to come do our championships without any fans whatsoever, for us, the reward is watching those kids compete for a state championship, getting them a season, and we’ll worry about trying to make up that sometime down the road.”
So what is down the road?
Said Childress: “I had someone ask me a question, saying Alabama came out with a statement saying they would love to see their football stadiums packed the very first game of next fall. He said, ‘What about TSSAA?’ I said, ‘I guarantee you, I’d like to see the same thing, but we can’t say that.’ There’s no way we can say that. We just have to see where we are.”