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A different kind of ‘Silent Spring’

By Staff | Mar 20, 2020

West Virginia University's Monongalia County Ballpark will not be filled with baseball players and enthusiasts this season, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Robins bob along on the infield grass listening for worms. Dandelions in the outfield are safe from the shuffling feet of the seven-year-olds.

There are no loud reports from the starting pistols of coaches sending off their sprinters in 100-meter dashes. Major League baseball can’t begin in either the American or National League.

Will there be a Masters Tournament at Augusta National this year? No spring sports are being staged in Shepherd’s PSAC or anywhere in West Virginia, where the state’s smaller colleges have cancelled schedules, and even at WVU, where the baseball team was 11-5 before the remainder of the season was cancelled.

Fields are empty of athletes. Eight-lane tracks and pole vault pits don’t have anybody readying for a meet. The windmill pitching motion of softball players is only a memory this spring.

The state of West Virginia’s WVSSAC has cancelled both the boys and girls state basketball tournaments. All spring sports have postponed the beginnings to their seasons. Will the coronavirus loosen its hold on our health in time to play some games and matches or hold some meets before the school term closes?

Shepherd University baseball, softball and lacrosse won’t be back this spring. Will the seniors on each of its teams be given more eligibility to complete their college careers?

What about the basketball players who will not have a NCAA tournament to remember? Will those seniors somehow be placated, when all the coughs, sniffles, pneumonia and respiratory problems caused by the coronavirus are gone?

Professional basketball, professional hockey, PGA golf events, the XFL football league and college seasons all over the map have fallen prey to the virus that has killed people all over the world.

The cheering echoes have stopped.

The holding high of championship trophies is no longer being photographed in gyms, at home plate or on podiums at track and field meets.

It’s the strangest of feelings. No clang from the composition bats made mostly of wood. No sudden cheering erupting when a high jumper clears a career-best height. No celebrations after a lacrosse goal. No tennis doubles teams clasping hands, after a player serves an ace to win a set.

It’s not the “Silent Spring” written by Rachel Carson in the early 1960s, about the problems caused by pesticides and insecticides on crops and vegetation, but it certainly is a silent spring.