Cost of canceling: pause on sporting events impacts officials, tournament directors

Sporting events at the highest professional level, down to the collegiate and high school ranks be cancelled due to coronavirus.

Cost of canceling: pause on sporting events impacts officials, tournament directors
Baseball umpire (Source: Lyndsey Gough)

GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WTOC) - Sporting events at the highest professional level, down to the collegiate and high school ranks be cancelled due to coronavirus.

As the sports world comes to a screeching halt, sports fans are at a loss.

“My sons in college playing- he’s cancelled, so he’s going to luckily, I think, get another year," said tournament director Clark Brockman. "I’m a die-hard Red Sox fan, we’re not playing, and then I live and breathe this stuff. SportsCenter’s got nothing on there. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my time.”

Umpire David Proctor agreed.

“We don’t have March Madness. We don’t have the NBA. We’re just happy to be out here.”

Even amid a public health crisis, kids are still kids.

“Feeling real good. 3-0!” said Lake Bush.

A last-minute tournament put together after St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were called off. For many, sports are an escape.

“It’s like the field of dreams- if you build it, they will come,” Proctor said.

At Bazemore Park on Sunday afternoon, five little league all-star baseball travel teams from Savannah, Pooler, Effingham County, Richmond Hill and Bluffton took the field, not knowing when they will get to again.

“There’s a chance it may be a long time. This thing is new to all of us," Brockman said.

Fans packed in- despite health officials encouraging social distancing, but extra precautions were taken on the field.

“No high-fives or fist-bumping, during the game, no shakes with the umpires and coaches, after the game the boys are just yelling out ‘good game’, getting them to wash up good after every game," Brockman added.

As sports stop, the impact stretches beyond cancelled games.

“We do it as umpires, because its fun, but obviously, it’s a source of income, you know? Proctor explained. "When you have a family and you have children and everything, you depend on that, and when you do this probably 75 percent of the weekends out of the year, you kind of get used to that and if you don’t get that, you know you feel like it hurts into your pocket a lot.”

Proctor, who is also a long-time referee, said they are paid per-game usually, and many can earn around $300 a week, which can add up. Tournament directors are feeling it too.

“Next weekend and the two after are probably our biggest tournaments of the year, so we’re getting hit really, really hard,” Brockman said.

As the groups of nine-year-olds continued to play ball, parents said if sports are cancelled it will be hard to tell the kids.

“Major tears. I mean, when we have a game rained out my son is very sad,” Amanda Holliday said.

Top Gun says the tournament next weekend is still on, but they’re considering restricting the teams traveling in that can play as they continue to monitor what local officials recommend.

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