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Baseball Basketball Softball Sports

COVID-19 Casts a Shadow Over Winter and Spring Sports Prep

Jeffersonville High School athletes are trying to keep in shape and healthy even as there are some concerns about how things will unfold this year with COVID-19.

Basketball, a winter sport, presents many challenges specific to the sport such as physical contact, touching the same ball, and being played inside. Sophomore boys basketball player Conner Lyons has some concerns but is ready to start the new season. He says his most pressing concern is “guarding people and close contact,” but Lyons’ concerns are overpowered by his drive to get back out on the court. “It’s always been my dream and that’s what I want to do when I get older,” he says. As of right now, the first game for Jeffersonville boys basketball is scheduled for December 5.

Members of the Jeff High baseball team, who have already lost their spring season this year, are trying to stay positive but realistic despite losing some senior talent. Baseball also has the benefit of being a more spaced out game that is played outdoors. Sophomore baseball player Sam Whallen isn’t getting his hopes up, saying, “we might not end up playing this season because of COVID.” The Jeff High baseball team’s first game is scheduled for April 2. 

Members of the Jeff High softball team are also trying to prepare for a spring season in 2021. Senior Danielle Monroe says the team is beginning winter workouts, which are different this year because of social distancing. Still, she feels like the effort will pay off in the spring. “I’m hopeful. I think we’ll have a season,” Monroe says. “I really hope so because it’s my senior year.”

The Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) has said the organization is committed to letting students play, saying they believe it is “essential to the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes to return to organized physical activity and build team relationships with their peers and coaches.”

Although every sport has its own precautions for the safety of players, coaches and fans, they have one thing in common: in the age of COVID, athletes are optimistic but unsure about the future.

Story by Caleb Vincent

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Baseball Photo Galleries Sports

Photo Gallery: Community, School Leaders Celebrate the Start of Baseball Facility Construction

On Thursday, November 21, school leaders gathered with past and present Jeff High baseball players to celebrate the beginning of construction for Jeff High’s new baseball facility. The project, which includes a new turf field and a replacement of the outer fencing, is being funded by a $500,000 donation from the John Schnatter Foundation. 

Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter, a 1980 Jeff High graduate and baseball player, was on hand for the event. Schnatter thanked attendees for their support and said it was good to be back at Jeff after 30 years.

Although the facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, the field will still be named after former coach Don Poole. Poole also spoke at the event. 

Construction is expected to be complete in time for the first home baseball game in the spring of 2020.

 

Story and photos by Kyle Tincher

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Baseball Opinion Sports

Opinion: Schnatter’s Donation to Jeffersonville Baseball Puts Him on the Right Path

It was July 11, 2018, when John Schnatter (Papa John) resigned as Board Chairman of Papa John’s Pizza. His resignation came after he used the N-word on a public relations conference call, but his fall from power began earlier. Schnatter is most known for his work as Papa John and his fall from power. However, many don’t know he graduated from Jeff High in 1980.

schnatter-baseball-1980

Schnatter’s problems began in November 2017 when he expressed his disappointment over the peaceful protest of African-American NFL athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. The company tried to smooth over his comments, but the damage had been done.

In January 2018 John Schnatter stepped down as Chief Executive of Papa Johns, following a sales decline, partly linked to the NFL scandal, and in February 2018 Papa Johns ended their partnership with the NFL.

In May 2018 the conference call occurred in which Schnatter used the racial slur, yet the incident would remain unknown until July 11. The day John Schnatter lost everything. Soon after the news of his resignation spread, multiple partners and contracts were suspended. The University of Louisville began the process of renaming “Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium,” and many others began the process of removing the brand from their own.

Then, less than a week later, July 17, Schnatter started talking. He first walked back his resignations saying, “he was kinda provoked” in saying the racial slur. He also expressed regret over his decision to resign before the board did a full investigation. Despite his fight, by August 1, 2018, John Schnatter had been erased from all forms of advertising of Papa Johns.

Despite the loss of his company, Schnatter still maintains the John Schnatter Foundation which makes many charitable contributions. He has recently been using his foundation to help the Southern Indiana and Louisville community.

Most recently, Schnatter gave $500,000 to Jeffersonville High School for a turf baseball field and a replacement of the outer fencing, The stadium and facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, but the field will remain Don Poole Field.

John Schnatter has made many mistakes, and his use of racial slurs is inexcusable. However, this is the real world. John Schnatter has expressed remorse, and he is trying to help. Through this donation, he is helping his community and our school.

I believe in principles, but I also believe in practicality. This donation helps everyone, and while many will always associate his name with accusations of racism, we must also acknowledge the good his actions have and will do for the community.