Pandemic creates change in signing ceremonies for area athletes

There isn’t much fanfare with schools closed for remainder of the academic year

Pandemic creates change in signing ceremonies for area athletes

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For every high school athlete wanting to play at the next level, they have one goal in mind: having a signing ceremony, where he or she makes it official with the school of their choice with some fanfare.

“The whole banner and balloons and everything in the gym, with the coaches and my family. That’s how I’ve always imagined it,” says St. Vincent’s cheerleader Lillie Hightower.

St. Vincent's Lillie Hightower will cheer at Presbyterian College after signing with the Blue Hose Tuesday from home.
St. Vincent's Lillie Hightower will cheer at Presbyterian College after signing with the Blue Hose Tuesday from home. (Source: Lillie Hightower)

But with the coronavirus outbreak, those like Hightower aren’t getting that chance.

“You understand it. You gotta stay safe with all these things going on," says Pinewood Christian’s David Friedberg. "But it’s still a bummer.”

Even so, many are making the best of the opportunity.

Hightower signed with Presbyterian Tuesday. Friedberg will play football and run track at Reinhardt after inking with the Eagles a week ago. Benedictine basketball player Hud Thomas signed with LaGrange College Wednesday afternoon.

All three had their own ceremonies, sheltered in place.

“It was exciting," says Hightower. "We had everything decorated and laid out.”

“I came down and [my parents] had the paper and the pom poms laid out," Thomas says. "It was cool to see that.”

It may not have been the massive ceremony these athletes long dreamed of, but they’re keeping it all in perspective.

“It’s a big deal for me, but you have to suck it up because there’s a lot of people going through a lot worse,” Thomas explains.

Pinewood Christian's David Friedberg will play football and run track at Reinhardt. He signed from home last week.
Pinewood Christian's David Friedberg will play football and run track at Reinhardt. He signed from home last week. (Source: David Friedberg)

It’s also helps them to know this isn’t the end of their journey, but the beginning of a new one.

“It would’ve been great to have that, but it happened the way it did," Friedberg says. "As long as I get a chance to play.”

Now that these athletes have made it official, they say the most important thing is staying healthy. That way when the chance arises to actually do what they’ve signed for, they’ll be ready.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.