Jenks Athletic Director discusses ‘lost opportunities’ through COVID-19 pandemic

Jenks Athletic Director discusses ‘lost opportunities’ through COVID-19 pandemic

This spring instead of seeing packed crowds at stadiums and chanting from the teams, sports will be empty.

Spring sports were just kicking off when it was taken away abruptly from the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools shuttered their doors and with it brought the automatic halt of the rest of the 2019-20 athletic calendar.  

Jenks had plenty to be excited for this spring. Baseball, boy and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls golf, slow pitch softball and even non-OSSAA sanctioned events such as rugby and lacrosse, some if not all poised to compete each game.

Trojan Athletic Director Tony Dillingham answered some questions about the sports shut down in an interview with the Jenks Tribune. Here is that interview:

Q: What’s the feeling you get from coaches and players about this whole ordeal?

TD: I honestly feel like our boys basketball team and staff and all our student athletes and staff involved in spring sports feel a great sense of loss. Lost opportunities to compete and continue to develop not only as players but also the loss of the opportunity to continue to enjoy the comradery of their teammates and coaches.

Q: What’s the hardest part for you about how everything is going?

TD: I believe the hardest part for me is how the cancellation of all sports effects our senior student athletes. They have worked so hard to reach the climax of their high school athletic careers and then have it snatched away by the COVID-19 pandemic is heartbreaking.

Q: What is the athletic department doing during this time?

TD: During this down time we are working to put auxiliary plans in place for when our student athletes and coaches can gather together again. While we are practicing safe social distancing but still remain active in meeting via Zoom and communicating via email and text and phone calls as well. We continue to update staff as we receive new information from our district administration as well as the OSSAA and the Oklahoma Coaches Association.

Q: I know it’s early and it’ san always-changing situation, but do you have any sense for when athletics can go back to normal? Should we expect fall sports to go on as scheduled?

TD: I really do not know when things will get back to some form of normalcy. I think we have learned a great deal about working to stay healthy and have become more cognizant of healthy practices like handwashing, etc. that should help us moving forward. I certainly hope we will be able to resume athletics in the fall and we are working on scheduling even during this shutdown period.

Hayden Tucker

Hayden Tucker is the Sports Editor and Director of Media for the Jenks Tribune. He has three years of experience in newspaper journalism before joining the Tribune. Tucker was born in McAlester, then moved to the Oklahoma City area in 2010 where he lived for nine years prior to moving to Jenks.

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