It was a tough Covid-19 Pandemic year for sports; top 10 list to spotlight the bright spots

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 December 2020 at 8:52 am


Photo by Cheryl Wertman -Ball fields, parks and gyms across the area were quiet much of  this past year as high school football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball and track seasons were cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

For the past 10 months one story has dominated the news and sports headlines – the Covid-19 Pandemic.

It struck in mid March just as the high school spring sports teams (baseball, softball, tennis, track and lacrosse) were completing their first week of preseason practice. And that week was all there was as the entire season ended up being cancelled.

The area youth sports programs were likewise hit hard as football, baseball, softball and soccer programs were all cancelled. The one bright spot was that when Covid restrictions were eased a bit in July some baseball activities got going including a new Short Season 12U and 10U League comprised of teams from Albion, Medina and Elba.

The high school programs remained in crisis in the fall as the so-called “High Risk” sports of football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading were postponed with state officials hoping to get them in during a “Fall 2 Season” beginning March 1.

That postponement means that this calendar year is the first time in 100 years that Albion and Medina will not meet on the high school football field. In fact, the last year that the two schools did not meet on the gridiron was 1919, ironically the year after the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.

The postponement also delays the debut season of the newly organized Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville 8 man football team which has been nicknamed the Silverbacks.

And the fall sports that did get played including soccer, field hockey, cross-country and golf, played primarily only league games during the regular season and had an abbreviated sectional competition. The games were played with only a very limited number of spectators, primarily the parents of players, on hand.

Currently the status of the high school winter sports season remains uncertain. Section VI has set January 18 as a projected starting date. However, state officials have not yet announced a date when the “High Risk” sports of basketball and wrestling can begin.

In fact, the strange situation of 2020 is well illustrated by the fact that currently the Niagara-Orleans League is planning on running its swim season with “virtual” meets.

There are some positives that need to be highlighted

Despite all of the frustrations and disruptions that have occurred during this bizarre Pandemic year there have been many outstanding performances by our local teams and athletes positives in this strange year which the HUB Sports feels should be spotlighted.

The HUB Sports  therefore will be running a Top 10 Sports stories of the year over the next two days.  Stories 6-10 will run later today and the top five will run on New Years Day.