Hypotheticals in sports almost always start with the same two words – what if. Usually, it’s just trying to apply hindsight to a situation to make the outcome better for the person involved. I use them all the time.
What if Butch Jones would have continued to recruit Trevor Lawrence hard? What if Kawhi Leonard would have never gotten hurt? What if the Pioneers would have run their tubby package in the fourth quarter against Cookeville?
The what ifs can go on and on. After a while, you have to realize there’s no what if that will fix what happened and you have to accept the results of the game or decisions made.
It feels different for the 2020 spring sports seasons though.
Phillip King, Matt Jackson, Gooby Martin, all the spring sports athletes – none of them have hindsight to look at what they did or didn’t do to make this season better. They never had a chance to make major decisions or game-changing plays. They’ll forever have to wonder what if COVID-19 never happened.
The storylines coming into this summer were endless for the WCHS spring sports teams.
King was starting his first season with the Pioneer baseball team, one which is loaded with talent. How does King look as a hire if he comes in and leads Warren County to a district championship and substate appearance in his first year? He may have started writing quite the legacy within eight months of being hired.
Jackson may have been thinking the same thing. The Pioneer soccer team was full of what Jackson called, “his guys.” It was a full squad of kids who helped WCMS win five straight CTC championships. In their lone game, the Pioneers destroyed Coffee County 8-1. A district championship wasn’t outside the realm of possibility of the Pioneers – it may have been the least of what they could’ve accomplished.
Also, King and Jackson are paired together in a different way. Both would have been guiding their senior sons one final time. Grant King and Josiah Jackson would have been fixtures in the lineups for their dads. Everybody lost a lot of memories during this shutdown, but losing senior nights for these kids may have been the toughest thing to sacrifice.
Then there is Martin’s Lady Pioneers. The program has been on the fast track to Midstate dominance, winning a district regular season title in 2017, district tournament title in 2018 and region championship in 2019. Each step was a first for the program.
It would’ve been tough to continue the run after losing so many contributors from last year’s team, but Martin wanted the chance to be the defending region champs.
I’ll always wonder – what if 2020 was going to be the year Warren County swept the spring District 6AAA titles?