HOUSTON - Mike McEachern was running errands on Friday morning.
The Huffman ISD athletic director and head football coach knew Harris County was set to make an announcement, which he thought could be "intriguing". As McEachern was trying to pull up the live video feed on his phone, he was having trouble viewing it.
Then his phone started blowing up with text messages.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo had made the announcement that all public and non-religious private schools inside Harris County could not start face-to-face instruction until September 8, the Tuesday following Labor Day. This meant no athletics in August.
For Huffman, a Class 4A program, which sits about a quarter of a mile inside the Harris County line, this meant what the University Interscholastic League had announced on Tuesday - which gave Class 4A programs and down the clearance to start practice and games on time - was now a moot point just days later.
"It's just a kick in the teeth," McEachern said. "The hardest thing right now is we can't get the kids together and continue our strength and conditioning."
HOUSTON – "Just cancel sports."
It is an impactful statement. It's something people are throwing around right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With school districts opting to start the year online only, others are pushing forward with in-person learning, high school sports have been left in limbo for some districts.
But to just come out and say "cancel sports" has a bigger impact than some would think.
When you say those words to a high school student, or coach – who at one point was that 16-year-old kid playing the game they love – you are doing more damage than just canceling a game or a practice.
It is canceling hope. Canceling dreams. Canceling a potential lifesaving or life-altering opportunity. For some, being a part of high school sports can alter the trajectory of their life.