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WOODSON COLUMN: Football just can't get here fast enough

WOODSON COLUMN: Football just can't get here fast enough

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Battle at Bristol action

The Battle at Bristol set a new college football attendance record with 156,990 fans.

There they were, sitting on the shelves of a local store.

All, at least for a while, seemed normal again in this crazy world we live in.

Every year as the calendar turns to June, college football magazines start appearing on newsstands, and I am always anxious to get mine.

I found them on Friday, chose one out of four and found the perfect reading material for the beach this week. I will probably get a few more, but one at a time is plenty.

If you are reading this column then you probably miss sports. I certainly do. It has been a challenge to fill sports sections each day without them, but so far all has been good.

We have found plenty of good features to write, but it would be nice to have some actual sports to write about.

There was NASCAR last week and there will be summer league baseball beginning this week, and more is on the way.

There are positive signs ahead, from our unexpectedly good national jobs report for May to more sports starting to make their return.

That continued this past week when limited workouts began for high school sports in our part of Tennessee. It was nice to hear the optimism and excitement in the voices of the coaches. The players felt much the same. They want to play ball.

Not all of Tennessee is back to work, but Northeast Tennessee was given permission to get started. It helps to live in a mostly rural area that hasn’t been hit as hard by the virus.

Unfortunately, not all is so clear on the Virginia side. Despite pleas to allow certain regions of the state to open up, the governor hasn’t budged.

One area coach called me earlier this week begging me to get a message to Mr. Northam that they want to start playing football in Southwest Virginia. He has talked to other coaches in the region and they feel much the same.

In addition to pointing out that there are few cases in this part of the state, he is even concerned that kids could leave Southwest Virginia for other states if they are playing football in the fall and Virginia is sitting on the sidelines.

He even went so far to say that it could ruin football in Southwest Virginia and it might never recover.

Let’s hope not. That would be devastating for an area that loves its football.

There were other positive signs this week. King University is working on a slew of scenarios and taking all the necessary precautions, with plans to have students on campus in August, with sports to soon follow.

That is a very good thing.

There are other reasons for optimism. NASCAR has been back for a few weeks, although it has been without fans. The PGA Tour returns this month, and the NBA and NHL will soon be on the horizon.

All that, and hopefully college and pro football will follow, and let’s hope fans can get in the stands. I need a trip to Tuscaloosa.

Notice the one sport I didn’t mention being back.

Yep, a few weeks ago I wrote a column begging the players and owners of Major League Baseball not to make their possible return to the diamond about money.

Health and safety, yes. Money, please no.

Did they listen? Nope.

No matter whether we play 114, 82 or 48 games, baseball needs to be back, but it is getting apparent each day that it might not happen.

Baseball, as we know it, could be nearing a collapse it can’t recover from.

Why? No matter what happens in the next few weeks, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players and owners expires after next season.

If they can’t come to an agreement for a partial season with the pandemic and economic woes we have now, don’t expect it to happen after next season.

Can you say strike? Can you say bye-bye baseball?

At least there is still football.

Football, especially the NFL, seems to skate through all these problems without ever getting touched. Let’s hope college football will do the same.

In a world that has been turned upside down by sickness, unemployment, business closures and now rioting in the streets, it was nice to see a few positive signs, from kids playing sports, to a campus working to reopen and college football magazines waiting to be read.

At least for a few moments, all was right in my little world.

There was, however, something that caught my eye. Normally, it has Alabama on top of the college football world. This time they’re third in this particular publication’s rankings, which is still better than everything else other than first or second.

Don’t ever count out St. Nick [Saban] and the Tide.

It actually felt like summer a few days this week, and baseball should be in the air.

It’s not, but football is. And, footballs were.

Bring on the pigskins, it can’t here fast enough.

bwoodson@bristolnews.com | Twitter: BHCWoodson | (276) 645-2543

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Local football legend Heath Miller will be included on the next ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Miller starred at Honaker before doing the same at Virginia and with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

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