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Sports has always been there for Americans in times of crisis.

During the Civil War, soldiers, both North and South, played baseball, which was quickly becoming the nation’s pastime.

During both World War I and World War II baseball was there for us as well.

The minor leagues were virtually shut down due to a lack of quality players, and many of the WW2 era baseball stars such as the great Ted Williams, volunteered for the military to fight for our country.

Major League Baseball continued, even in a depleted form, giving Americans a sense of continuity amid those tough times.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, America suffered greatly. Unemployment and economic collapse ruined us. Americans could hardly scrape together enough money to put food on the table for their families. Assembly lines in Detroit ground to a halt, soup lines fed many, but somehow baseball helped us forget the grim realities and helped us get through it.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, sports paused for a while, then returned.

NASCAR tracks were soon open again to flag-waving fans as patriotic fervor swept across the nation.

Baseball soon resumed and the World Series, between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks, was played in late October. Just a few miles away from Yankee Stadium in lower Manhattan was the several stories high rubble of the World Trade Center buildings, the burial ground of 2,606 souls who perished there.

College football and the NFL soon returned.

Locally, high school football resumed that weekend.

Logan High School hosted Capital that Friday evening at Logan Stadium, just four days after the attacks.

Sports was there for us. Sports helped us get through the rough times.

But it’s different this time. Now we have the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Just about everything is more or less shut down, including sports.

With hours of air time to fill, Fox Sports replayed an old NASCAR race from the 1980s. ESPN re-aired the WWE’s Wrestlemania, and ESPN2 switched over to ESPN8 The Ocho’s coverage of marble racing.

We love our sports and it’s been a huge void in this emergency.

There was no boys’ state basketball tournament. It’s still officially delayed, but not yet canceled. The girls’ basketball tournament was suspended a couple weeks ago and not finished. High school spring sports has been delayed, at least for now, and all major sporting events have either been delayed or canceled.

We’ve taken sports, our freedoms and our daily lives for granted.

We must not do that again.

In the age of social distancing, lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to help quell the virus our lives have been drastically changed.

Church services have been canceled and have gone to streaming only. Schools are closed. Many of our factories have shut down. Small businesses are closed. People are losing their jobs. People are getting sick and dying, especially in the “hot spots” of New York, Washington state and California. The stock market has shed more than 10,000 points. Our economy is on the brink of the abyss as Congress debated the passage of a stimulus bill.

But in this crisis there is no sports to help us through it.

It’s different this time. This is much different.

This is also an Olympic year and organizers for this summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics had been holding out waiting for good news, hoping this will peter out, but decided on Tuesday to delay the Games a year until 2021.

If re-elected, President Trump should also issue an American boycott the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which are slated to be hosted by Beijing, China.

The US has a precedent for this, of course, as President Carter boycotted the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow after the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Let us not forget where this virus came from and the events surrounding it.

The Chinese Communist government is to blame for his outbreak, make no mistake about it. Facts are facts. China lied to the World Health Organization during a critical time back in January, silencing and suppressing whistle blowers who were going to sound the alarm to the world, and then falsely blaming the US military for its origin. All this while flights continued to leave Wuhan and other affected areas, spreading the deadly virus across the globe.

China is not only an emerging global superpower, they may be the sole superpower left after the ramifications of our possible coming economic meltdown are realized.

Not unless we can turn this around. And quickly.

Hopefully we can overcome this. Heal the sick, find a treatment or cure and then put our economy back on track.

But there also must be accountability to China. For this and other things.

China is illegally building man-made islands in the South China sea in disputed waters, turning them into military bases and flexing its military might while bullying neighboring countries which also claim that area.

China’s human rights abuses against their own ethnic minorities, its threats to the free Chinese people of Taiwan, and its atrocities going back to Mao Zedung under the guise of the iron fist of communism are well documented.

It’s time to make our own products again, demand China forgive our debts and begin to roll back our economic entanglements with them.

We must reprioritize as a nation. Rebuild our factories (no more Made in China products). Rebuild our medical infrastructure. Rebuild our economy. Rebuild our lives. We must turn away from globalism, radical leftist ideals and turn back to God and the Constitution.

We have a lot of work to do. It will be a long recovery but I believe we can come back from all this. It will just take some time.

We will be a stronger nation in the long run. I see a positive future for us.

And in the meantime, China does not deserve the honor of hosting our athletes, or any others for that matter, in 2022.

No state for David?: It’s looking more and more likely the high school basketball season will be over as the window for its completion has continued to narrow.

That would be a shame for all the senior players, especially for Logan’s David Early and Noah Cook and Chapmanville Regional’s Obinna Killen, Philip Mullins, Andrew Shull and Chase Berry.

Early had a fantastic career at Logan and never got a chance to play in the state tournament.

Early was a three-time Cardinal Conference scoring champion and a two-time First-Team All-State pick.

What a career.

Early became Logan’s all-time leading scorer this season and averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals a game this season.

He’s headed to Marshall next season with Killen and what a duo that will be.

Shull de-commits: Chapmanville’s Andrew Shull announced on his Twitter page that he was de-committing to Wingate University.

“After some recent conversation I will be de-committing from Wingate University and opening my recruitment back up,” Shull wrote. “It’s a tough decision but I feel it’s the best situation for me. So with that being said, I will be opening my recruitment back up.”

No spring sports?: West Virginia’s high school spring sports season is also in question amid the virus concerns.

That would mean no senior seasons for the county’s baseball, softball, track and tennis athletes.

That would also be a big blow to Chapmanville senior catcher KK Davis, who sat out most of last season with a knee injury but has battled back.

“I understand the situation and pray for those effected but it’s difficult to accept. I worked hard after my surgery last year to play my senior year in both sports and for it to possibly end this way is truly devastating,” Davis said.

Odd matchup: Wheeling Central’s football team has perhaps the strangest ever matchup in the history of West Virginia high school football.

The Maroon Knights are scheduled to open up the season on Aug. 27 at home against Kamehameha Kapplama High School from Honolulu, Hawaii.

That’s pretty cool but just how the heck did this game come about? And who is paying for the airfare and hotel accommodations? Wow, that’s expensive.

Aloha to you all and hope I see you all again soon on the ball fields of Logan County.

Be safe and be smart.

Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of The Logan Banner