It always seems tougher and tougher to put my fingers to a keyboard and try and find the bright sides on a weekly basis as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on sports in this country, from the pros to the kiddie leagues.

High school sports are especially in the crosshairs, with New Jersey pushing back the start of the season by a month, New Mexico postponing any fall contact sports indefinitely and even most surprisingly, the superintendent of Dallas public schools telling MSNBC Thursday when asked if there will be a 2020 football season: “I seriously doubt it.”

The college scene took even more of the spotlight when the Ivy League postponed its fall sports seasons on Wednesday before the Big Ten cut nonconference games from fall schedules Thursday and the Pac-12 followed suit Friday.

The NBA and NHL have approved return-to-play plans to conclude their 2019-20 seasons and Major League Baseball, after an infuriating and contentious game of chicken, salvaged a 60-game season out of the mess.

I know most are sick of the ‘negative’ headlines and want things to go back to normal, or at least as close to normal as we can get right now.

I’d be lying if I said I know when that time will come. I’d also be lying if I said I knew for sure that the plan that we begin the upcoming school year with will be the one we stick with.

But what I do know is that this area is as resilient as any.

These kids, who have had so much taken away from them, want to be there to put the work in if they are able to do so safely.

These coaches, who pour so much passion, time and unrewarded effort into their professions as well, want to help shape those kids and in some cases provide an escape from things much tougher than a conditioning practice in the offseason.

These administrators want to provide the most rewarding environment for high school athletics and education in general for our area’s youth.

We’re all working against some loaded decks here, yours truly included, which means the only thing that gets achieved is something that we all do together.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has introduced a social media campaign with the hashtag #IWantASeason in an effort to promote mask-wearing across the state and an abiding by guidelines to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and try and keep the fall sports season alive.

The cynical among us may see it as a publicity stunt to prolong the inevitable news of a cancellation or postponement. Some may be too stuck in a way of thinking that equates mask-wearing to a complete surrender of American liberty.

But what’s most important is that, for the betterment of the eternally fervent sports culture in northwest Ohio, we all work together.

Hashtag or not, I’m sure I’m one of many that wants to see the lights of Friday night football, the back-and-forth action of a well-executed rally or the grit and determination of the final dozen yards to win a cross country meet.

So let’s try and put ourselves on the back burner for a while and work for everyone.

Some other things I wanted to bring attention to:{div}• Condolences go out to the families of a pair of Defiance figures of note. First, thoughts go out to those close to Greg Ruggles. The 1998 DHS grad passed away on Friday and was a longtime Bulldog and Ohio State Buckeye fan that was well known by many in the community. Greg didn’t let spina bifida, his wheelchair or any other health issues keep his passion down and was probably well-known by many in the community by his weather reports on his Facebook page.

Another name from Defiance’s past that recently came up was that of Bruce Brown. Brown passed away June 28 at the age of 70 after a battle with liver cancer and other illnesses. Brown coached the 1988-89 season for Defiance boys basketball and 11 games of the 1989-90 season. Brown spent 47 years in coaching and administration, including 16 years as AD at Uniontown Lake, six years as the executive director of the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and over 200 wins in a boys hoops coaching career at seven schools.

• On a more positive note, a familiar name to area hoops fans is part of the boys basketball coaching fraternity to our south as former Ottawa-Glandorf coach Josh Leslie took on the job at Louisville Seneca in Kentucky. Leslie, who was 109-35 from 2005-11 at O-G with a state title in 2008, also coached at Springfield Catholic Central and St. Marys in Ohio before tallying a 138-60 record in seven seasons as Louisville Eastern girls basketball coach.

• Some even more recent news: Former Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, an undrafted free agent signing by Kansas City, was waived by the Chiefs Friday afternoon.

• Toledo Christian senior-to-be Cole McWhinnie, a 20-ppg scorer last season and all-Ohio honorable mention, has signed with Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan to continue his hoops career.

• Pour one out for the end of a star-studded career for former Ohio State and Liberty-Benton hooper Aaron Craft. The rosy-cheeked point guard was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice, won the NBA G-League Defensive Player of the Year award, played in a Final Four, played professionally in Italy and Hungary and helped lead the Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alumni) team to the 2019 The Basketball Tournament title before being upset Wednesday.

Don’t worry about his future, however. The former Buckeye star, despite a dinged-up knee in Wednesday’s loss, will begin medical school at Ohio State this fall.

• I’m working on a piece highlighting some of the area’s best traditions in high school sports. I’ve been at this job for a little while but I haven’t gotten in-depth at a lot of our local schools. Send me an email at agross@crescent-news.com

or reach out to me on Twitter at

@crescentsports with some tips and some guidance as I put together this piece. I’m really looking forward to it!

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