COVID-19 has brought life, sports world to grinding halt

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By D. Mark Mitchell

Although it’s been less than a few weeks, it seems like many months ago.  
I think about the night the NBA suspended the season because of a player testing positive for COVID-19. Little did I know that it was the start of the sports world coming to a screeching halt! No college basketball tournaments, no Major League Baseball and on and on until it reached high school and recreation sports.  
The United States began to shutdown, with many states mandating “Stay at Home” policies. Shutting down certain businesses not labeled essential. 
President Donald Trump and the COVID-19 task force briefs us every day. 
Last Friday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey added us to the list of states enforcing “Stay a Home” through the end of April. 
All of this to combat a virus, many call the invisible enemy.
As of April 6, all schools will be closed until later in the summer, including all K-12 schools, community colleges and four-year schools. Some students have the task of online classes, although that’s not 100%. 
It seems like everyday, we hear of a change that makes us alter our life.  
Appearing on my daily radio show “On the Mark” on FOX Sports 910 and 1310 AM, Alabama State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey explained the difficulties facing students when not in a school classroom. 
“Each student is different, one may have all A’s, one a C average , others struggling to pass that need a classroom structure. Students’ home life is different, some places do not have internet, some can’t afford…..bottom line, every student in Alabama is important and can’t be left behind due to COVID-19,” Mackey said.
He continued to discuss the importance of a plan by each system to address the needs of their students.
I met Mackey at the 2018 AHSAA Super 7 Football Championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium. I knew right away that he cared about Alabama’s students! Another unique factor is that this was the first time the Alabama State Superintendent supported a Super 6 or 7 football Championship in more than 15 years. 
Mackey wanted to make sure he supported the school systems playing in the games, bands, cheer squads, coaches, players and AHSAA officials. He is approachable and understands the Leadership needed to better Alabama’s education system.
I have gotten to know Mackey. He attended several championship football games during Super 7 in 2018 and 2019 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. 
Opelika High School students have one semester remaining. Opelika City Schools ended the nine-weeks prior to going on spring break. 
Students never returned. Dr Erik Mackey must approve each school system’s plan for the remainder of the year. It appears Opelika High School will allow students to keep their nine-weeks grade prior to spring break for the final nine weeks.
If it’s a passing grade, the students are finished for the school year. If the students are not satisfied with the nine-week grade prior to spring break, the student must complete online classes with teachers. 
Hopefully, all students will pass! 
EASTER
SUNDAY 
This coming Sunday is Easter and is one if not the most important “dates/days” in Christianity. It is the day that Jesus arose from the tomb! 
For the first time in my 55 years, I cannot attend my church because of COVID-19. I would imagine more people attend their church on Easter Sunday than any Sunday in a year.  
It’s a day that families gather to worship together and celebrate the resurrection. 
I know you do not need a church to worship the Lord! This can happen anywhere at anytime. 
On Sunday morning, First Baptist Church of Opelika will offer “Drive-Up Church.” 
Senior Pastor Jeff Meyers will stand on the roof, facing the large parking lot and preach three sermons that will air on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM.
Folks must stay in their car with their windows rolled up and tune in to 97.7 FM to hear the sermon. 
The three services are scheduled for:
-7 to 8 a.m. – Traditional
-9 to 10 a.m. – Contemporary
-11 a.m. to noon – Traditional
The “Jeffcoat Trant Gospel Train Show” will air from 6 to 7 a.m., 8 to 9 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.
Meyers thanked Bill and Coley Trant for agreeing to alter their time on the Kicker. 
IHeartRadio is proud to help air these three services along side Jeffcoat Trant Funeral Home and FBCO. 
Hope I see in the parking lot Sunday. 
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.

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