UIL holding out hope for completion of athletic seasons, but local coaches remain skeptical

High School Sports

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Sporting events across the world have canceled their 2020 competitions because of COVID-19 – and then there’s the UIL, which is still operating under a suspension until May 4 at the earliest.

While the idea of hope is certainly important in these trying times, coaches across El Paso are coming to terms with the fact that their seasons are likely over, and that the health of the globe is what matters most.

As the reigning state champions, you would think Bel Air and San Elizario’s boys soccer teams would have a vested interest in defending their titles. But with the ongoing coronavirus crisis, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

“High school soccer should be canceled because other events that are more prestigious are being canceled,” said Bel Air coach Sergio Delgado.

Despite events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon cancelling ther summer, 2020 competitions, the UIL is still working with an indefinite suspension to its activities.

While San Elizario coach Max Sappenfield appreciates the hopeful sentiment, he also sees the international writing on the wall.

“Sure, from my perspective it would have been fun to do the playoffs again,” Sappenfield said. “I thought we had a really good team, but there’s just so much more loss here.”

On Friday, El Paso officials announced that the number of Sun City COVID-19 cases had jumped to 96, up 18 since Thursday. For Delgado, it’s crucial that his players and the entire world understands the gravity of the situation.

“I try to talk about reality and the reality is they’re playing a different game,” Delgado said. “The game now is that they have to protect their siblings and their elderly family members.”

With no games to be played, soccer coaches become wise men, with perspective for everyone to chew on while the world waits for sports to come back and life to return to normal.

“None of this life or death nonsense that we felt about our sporting events in the past,” Sappenfield said. “Now maybe it’s just, wow, this is great, this is nice, this is a great way to pass a few hours and appreciate this gift that we have.”

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