High school sports are in a coma.
The Arkansas Activities Association and University Interscholastic League each have postponed all spring high school sports until further notice. All practices under any coach and the use of school athletic facilities have been barred for two weeks.
Student athletes may get together on their own in small groups and work on drills, fundamentals or just keeping in line with exercising and conditioning.
"They have shut the facilities down to where the kids can't work out; that is probably the worst part," Nashville head baseball coach Kyle Slayton said. "We were going to be on spring break anyway, so we were losing just two games. I thought that if we could still practice, then we would be OK. But they closed school, and I knew that we would not be able to practice.
"Our kids are trying to find somewhere to hit or throw a little bullpen. Luckily, the city park is opened up. The kids can't get on the fields, but they can get in the batting cages. It would be nice if our kids could go to our field to pitch and hit. We hoping that we will get to eventually play more. We probably won't see anything like this in our lifetime."
Area head coaches, both in Texas and in Arkansas, are feeling the affects of the closures. Most coaches share the same sentiments regarding the pause in action.
"The announcement did not surprise me, but it left me frustrated," Redwater head softball coach Scott Usrey said. "I told the girls to be ready to go. If the season gets reinstated, it is going to be fast and furious. I told them that if they don't do anything on their own,. they are going to get way behind.
"Nobody can stop the girls from getting together. We encourage that they get together in small groups. I feel like we will be OK as long as the girls are working while we are on this two-week postponement. The longer it goes, the harder it is going to be, the rustier the girls will get. If it gets back to normal soon, I don't believe that it will be much of a problem."
Across the state line at Fouke, head basketball coach Mo Williams anxiously awaits the forthcoming AAA announcement that will either allow the season to continue, further postpone the season or cancel the season altogether. The decision will take about two weeks.
"We do a lot of our basketball work for next year," Williams said. "They lift weights and work on fundamentals in the spring. So not only does it affect sports now that are in play, but it affects our sports for next year. I know all football coaches are already doing so much work for next year. They are lifting weights and doing agility drills. Not getting to do those things bothers me the most. It isn't anyone's fault; there is nothing that I can do.
"There are a lot of other things that they might not get to do: prom, graduation, plays and our sports banquet. I feel for the kids who might miss out on those things. We may be back in school after March 30th, but we don't know. Wisconsin schools have shut down indefinitely. I hope that doesn't happen here, but at the same time, it could. From a coaching standpoint, the worst thing for me is missing the time that I usually have to develop the athletes. On the family side of it, I don't want to be around lot of people and bring hit home to my 2-year-old daughter. I am for it, and I think the governor and state board are doing what they need to do. At the end of the day, everyone's safety is most important."
In the town of Simms, Texas, James Bowie is facing the same restrictions that all others are going through across the United States. Athletic Director and head football coach Eddy May is patiently awaiting additional developments.
"The postponement didn't surprise me because there are a lot of unknowns," May said. "I don't think anyone knows exactly what we are dealing with. I think it was a good idea to shut it down until we figure what what is going on. We are on spring break at the moment. We are going to follow all of the suggestions of the Center for Disease Control.
"I can't recall anything that has ever postponed a high school sports season. We are in uncharted territory here, and all of us can do is wait. We are going to do what is best for everybody."