Opinion: There was plenty to look forward to this spring; now we can only wonder what might have been

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Russell Hedges

While I certainly understand the decision and believe it was the right one, the LHSAA’s cancellation of the remainder of the spring sports season because of the COVID-19 pandemic still hurts.

I feel bad for the coaches who put in the many hours to get their teams ready.

I feel bad for the underclassmen who are missing out on their chance to shine.

But mostly I feel bad for the seniors, especially the ones who won’t be going on to compete at the college level. So many opportunities to make memories lost.

So many special moments that sports always provides missed — game-winning home runs, track and field records set, great comebacks, winning streaks and championship celebrations.

And you can’t forget about the opportunity to experience failure followed by redemption.

And selfishly, I feel bad for myself.

Here are some of the things I was looking forward to watching, photographing and keeping track of. It’s by no means a comprehensive list.

— The Airline girls bowling team went undefeated and would have been a high seed in the playoffs. Trista Quinley and Paris Mendones would have both been threats in the singles competition.

The Airline and Haughton boys teams also could have fared well in the playoffs.

— The Airline softball team was 12-2 with a 10-game winning streak. The Lady Vikings would almost certainly have made a deep playoff run possibly ending with a state title.

Benton and Haughton were also off to good starts. They had the talent to do some damage in the playoffs.

— The District 1-5A baseball race would have been very interesting. Just look at the records of these teams when the season was suspended: Parkway 9-3, Benton 11-4, Airline 8-4, Haughton 8-3, Captain Shreve 9-1.

There was no clear favorite and I definitely couldn’t predict the champion.

Any one of the above teams would’ve been capable of advancing far in the playoffs.

— I was looking forward to seeing how fast Bossier senior sprinter Decamerion Richardson was going to run. After finishing second in the 100 and third in the 200 in the 4A state meet last year, he would’ve been shooting for firsts in 3A this year.

Loyola senior Will Dart, a Bossier City resident, would have also been looking for big things in the 3A state meet. Sadly, Dart didn’t get to compete in the outdoor meet as a sophomore after transferring from Airline or as a senior. But he got to show what might have been in the state indoor meet, winning the Division II 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

And Dart will be running for LSU next season.

There were also many other talented track and field athletes, too numerous to mention here, in the parish that would have had very good chances to qualify for the state meet.

— Bossier Parish always seems to have a singles player or doubles team do well in the state tennis tournament. Last year, the Parkway sister duo of Jasmin and Paris Washington won the Division I girls doubles title.

More success this year was likely.

— After winning six Division II state golf championships in the last eight years, Benton moved up to Division I this year. Could the Tigers have continued their success in the state’s highest division?

Sadly, we’ll never know. And that goes for all the other spring sports. Who knows what might have been.

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Russell Hedges is the Bossier Press-Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at rhedges@bossierpress.com.