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I was never a standout athlete when I was in high school. I knew the last time I ran in a track meet, swam for a district championship, and heard that final whistle it would be my last.

It was a different world then: We all face a tougher competition than we've seen.

The decisions by the Arkansas Activities Association and Texas' University Interscholastic League to halt all high school athletic competitions in these two states was followed up by statewide bans on practices, gatherings and social events for student athletes and teams. While some see this as giving up, this is how we combat our opponent.

I've seen multiple posts and columns that those decisions were made will kill the spring sports season — that the UIL and AAA should give the seniors their final year back.

Those decisions were made to protect the students, the elderly, and your community.

What is more important: That your senior student-athlete gets to compete for a district title, or that they're alive in six months? Would the naysayers be satisfied to watch a kid get to play and win a district or conference championship, but the same kid spend the summer after graduation laid up in a hospital because he or she contracted the COVID-19 virus and were fighting for their lives?

I have one message for those outcrying for the UIL and AAA to reverse their decisions: Shut up.

There's bigger problems in the world right now. There's bigger problems in your community right now.

There are single parents trying to figure out how to take care of the children who are now at home instead of school while still going to work to put food on the table.

There's a first-grader somewhere who won't get breakfast or lunch today because even though their school is still providing meals during this shutdown, that child doesn't have a way to get there.

There are people who are going to get sick — very sick — and be fighting for every breath. There's bigger problems in your community right now.

If you haven't realized the magnitude of what is going on in the world right now, wake up.

Just about every university in the country is going to finish the semester with online courses. Worldwide, every professional and collegiate sports organization has halted all activities in an attempt to fight COVID-19 and quarantine those who are or possibly infected.

If you don't get it, start paying attention.

I wish the situation we find ourselves in today was different. I want to get back to covering high school games and events. But our reality is that the virus that has been terrorizing Europe and Eastern Asia is here. And we must combat it.

Keep your kids home. Keep them safe. Quarantine yourself and your family as much as possible, and pay close attention to social distancing. And quit griping like you have been mistreated by the system.

District titles are a good thing. To be the best of the competition is uplifting. But there are bigger issues in the world, bigger issues in your town, right now, than who wins a league championship.

Let this group of high school seniors' legacy be the class that killed the coronavirus. Let that be what they're remembered for a better legacy than any sports championship.

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