Tiger A.D. still hopeful

Tarr supports decision by IHSA to suspend sports

By Briar Napier bdn627@gmail.com
Posted 3/23/20

The uncertainty within the Illinois high school sports scene is at levels it has never been.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world and has 585 known cases in Illinois as of FrIday, prep …

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Tiger A.D. still hopeful

Tarr supports decision by IHSA to suspend sports

Posted

The uncertainty within the Illinois high school sports scene is at levels it has never been.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world and has 585 known cases in Illinois as of FrIday, prep athletics in the state have taken a backseat for the time being as the Illinois and the entireUnited States awaits any sign of a flattening of the curve and a decline in new cases..

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) this week ordered all spring sport practices and games to be suspended until at least March 30. That followed the IHSA announcement last week that all remaining winter sports championships — including the boys basketball state tournament — were cancelled.

Illinois isn’t alone in the postponements.  As of Friday, no other state athletic association in the United States is currently holding events or practices.

“During this time of mandated closure, the IHSA does not believe it is necessary or prudent for any number of students to gather for workouts, regardless of how those students gather or whether any IHSA rule is broken by said gathering,” the Illinois association announced Tuesday. “National, state and local governmental leaders are clear:  To help our country slow the spread of this pandemic, the best thing society can do is limit its interaction with one another … the IHSA strongly recommends students, parents, and non-school coaches/trainers follow this advice. Doing so could ultimately end up salvaging the spring sports season.”

High school athletic directors around Illinois are in a frozen state at the moment — without much of anything related to prep athletics going on — there is little idea about what’s to come.

Paris High School athletic director Creighton Tarr is one of those people feeling the sting.

In a time where local and national governments are encouraging social distancing to limit the chance of infection and community spread, Tarr said he’s quickly realized how much his job revolves around people and that doing work without people around is “really weird.”

“We’re working with athletes, coaches, officials, umpires and workers,” Tarr said. “Being away from it, even for just like a week … I think I’ve kind of realized what I love most about my job is my daily interactions with people. I don’t currently really have that. This is hard on a lot of people.”

Tarr — who is also the Tiger baseball coach — said that the main challenge has been reassuring students that things are going to be alright.

With Illinois schools being out of session until at least April 8,, not only are spring sports seasons in danger of being cancelled outright, but other major high school events like prom, band concerts and theatre musicals are in real danger of being suspended.

In terms of athletics, however, Tarr’s initiative has been to make sure that Paris is ready to play anyone in any sport at any time — whenever that may be.

“In a tough time like this, I think you’ve got to have a little bit of faith that everything is going to be OK,” Tarr said. “If you’re sitting around here with a negative attitude, that’s not going to get you anywhere. I told the kids, ‘Hey, if we’re out ‘till March 30, then March 31 we’ll be ready to play.’ I think that’s the attitude you’ve got to have. And especially as a leader, you’ve got to have that kind of attitude.”

Tarr has praised the IHSA for opting to suspend spring sports for the time being rather than completely shutting them down like the NCAA, for example. That collegiate association cancelled all of its remaining winter and spring sports championships.

The optimism to see high school sports going on once again is still there for Tarr. He also remains realistic in making sure that local leaders prioritize the health and well-being of students first.

But if Paris gets the all-clear to resume classes, expect the Tigers and Lady Tigers intend to come roaring to go back to competition.

“The IHSA … has done a pretty good job,” Tarr said. “They just said, ‘Hey, we’re not going to cancel this thing right now. We’re going to evaluate it.’”

Tarr said the IHSA announcement  “gives us some hope. I don’t think any of us want to be out there when we’re at risk of spreading something … but at the same time, you’ve got to believe that things are going to work out. If you don’t believe in that, you’re in the wrong business.”