Holding out hope: Cadillac News Meet ‘postponed’

For the first time in nearly 50 years, there won't be a track and field meet on Memorial Day featuring local high school student-athletes.

The 48th annual Cadillac News Track & Field Invitational, which would have been held Monday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cadillac, has been postponed.

Notice we said "postponed" and not canceled.

That's important as the COVID-19 pandemic goes into its third month.

High school spring sports were canceled in Michigan on April 3 by the MHSAA after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed schools for the remainder of the academic year a day earlier.

While basketball was in the midst of its state tournament, those student-athletes got most or all of their season in.

Spring sport athletes saw their hopes and dreams yanked from under their feet after having just four days of practice before all K-12 schools closed on Friday, March. 13. Spring practices began in Michigan on March 9.

While we know it was unquestionably the right decision to protect everyone's safety in the face of the novel coronavirus, that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

It still stings most spring athletes nearly two months later.

In the time that has passed since mid-March, we've gotten a little more used to life under quarantine and now, finally, some of those necessary rules are being relaxed as the number of infections and deaths has steadily declined in the state.

Gov. Whitmer last week allowed restaurants and retail stores to open at 50 percent capacity beginning today in northern Michigan the Upper Peninsula. She also relaxed more restrictions on medical, dental and veterinary procedures starting next week.

Those are the first steps as we hope to return to whatever our new normal is in the coming months with the hopes that a vaccine and/or treatments aren't too far away.

Gatherings of 10 people are now allowed provided social-distancing guidelines are followed and everyone does their best to be safe and smart.

Those things have everything to do with the Cadillac News Track & Field Invitational in some way or another.

That's led us to hang on to hopes that we can have some type of event this summer for student-athletes to compete in a sport they love.

There's a lot of talk about summer sports for kids who had spring taken from them by coaches around the state and we're no different in our hopes.

Let's not kid ourselves — this is going to take a lot to pull off but we want to help communities heal. That's something we all need right now.

The biggest step would be Gov. Whitmer allowing gatherings of 50 people or more and that's in Phase Five of her MI Safe Start Plan. Phase Five also allows face-to-face instruction to return in the state's schools yet we know that's a long way off.

Parts of northern and Upper Michigan are moving into more parts of Phase Four today and next week. Time will tell if we've got the appropriate levels of testing and tracing in place to help control the virus.

As summer approaches, the hope is that the virus won't be as prevalent in communities because we're outside more and we generally feel better — helping our bodies — in the summer. That can lead to infections and deaths declining even more.

There's no question anything we do regarding the meet is up to the approval of local health and government officials. If it's deemed not safe to hold any type of event, we'll go back to the drawing board and be ready to return on Memorial Day 2021.

The safety of student-athletes, coaches and the communities we all live in is No. 1 on the priority list.

We'll keep track of the situation, talk with coaches and see what can happen.

Until then, stay safe and be smart.

We'll miss seeing so many of you on Memorial Day.

Cadillac News