CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It was a great day in Union County as high school football teams were allowed to begin off season conditioning, but the same couldn’t be said for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. The fact that CMS and other student-athletes in other counties like Cabarrus and Gaston are not getting the chance to get back on the field is hurting some of the youth mentally.
“As I read through the text messages and talked with some of the guys the last 3 or 4 days, it’s just tearing them apart,” said Myers Park head coach Scott Chadwick. “We have a number of kids that football and the family that comes with football is one of the most positive things that they have.”
This is the second time that these conditioning drill have been taken away. The original dead period was suppose to be lifted on June 15th, but due to a rise in positive cases of COVID-19, that date was moved to July 6th.
Then on last Thursday, CMS had a change of mind again because the trends were not getting better. No conditioning this week as well and no date has been announced for a new possible starting date. For Cabarrus and Gaston Counties, a target date for a start is now July 20th.
“They’re tired of being at home,” said coach Chadwick. “They are tired of not being with their team mates. Everybody is sensitive to the reasons behind it, but it doesn’t change what it’s doing to the kids.”
It has indeed been a strain mentally on these student-athletes which is why Weddington running back Will Shipley is glad to be back on the field with friends and team mates.
“It’s not easy being locked away and not having a lot of social interaction,” said Shipley. “It’s very important and I’m very glad that we are back out here getting a little bit of that. I’ve been waiting for this day for a while.”
Coming off a July 4th holiday weekend, in a normal season, players would be putting on helmet and shoulder pads this week and slinging around the football. This year has been anything but normal. As conditioning begins, the footballs and whistles have been replaced by hand sanitizer and anything that can kill the coronavirus. All kept handy at Weddington in an effort to keep everyone safe so that football can hopefully start back up in the fall.
“If we got to spray a pad down or spray a ball, we are going to do the extra steps to continue to be around these kids and let them come out and see each other,” said Weddington head coach Andy Capone. “Some of these kids that have grown up since kindergarten, haven’t seen each other in three to four months. For them to get back out here and work hard and push each other definitely helps everybody out mentally.”