Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
It appears I should have trademarked the nickname of “Seattle, West Virginia.”
n Serving as governor of a state is often a thankless job.
Sure, there are perks. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty much a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” scenario. It’s simply the nature of the office.
Having said that, I believe it’s time to give West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice credit for doing an admirable job of handling this coronavirus pandemic. That’s particularly true in the realm of athletics.
When COVID-19 struck on March 12 as I was sitting in the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum watching the state high school girls basketball tournament, Justice acted swiftly. The tournament was postponed indefinitely. And it wasn’t as easy as it might sound for Justice. That’s because he also coaches the Greenbrier East High School girls basketball team, which meant Justice was pulling the plug on his own team.
I’m guessing there wasn’t another governor in the United States that had to do that.
Then, after we hunkered down into our coronavirus pandemic lifestyle, Justice continued his even-handed guidance. That’s why it has remained calm and peaceful in the Mountain State.
In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmor received death threats and the capitol in Lansing had to be guarded. In Denver, people took to the streets to demand the stay-at-home order be lifted.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers all have been harshly criticized for their handling of this pandemic.
But that’s not happening in our state.
Instead, West Virginia has been toward the forefront of states opening back up. As a result, some NFL teams contacted The Greenbrier Sports Performance Center just last week about the potential of using the site for training camps.
That speaks volumes.
So does this.
The Marshall University football program’s head team physician, Dr. John Jasko, recently said the state’s diligence in producing a plan quickly allowed the state to get ahead of COVID-19. That kept the number of cases lower.
As Jasko pointed out, it also enabled the state to restart the use of such facilities as fitness centers, gymnasiums and recreation centers.
Youth sports also are on the horizon. And it’s even looking more and more probable that West Virginia University and Marshall soon will be able to allow football players to return and begin voluntary workouts.
A lot of states can’t say that quite yet. The reason is Justice. He reached out to the proper authorities, such as Dr. Clay Marsh, listened to guidance and suggestions and made informed decisions. Justice did his job.
n Meanwhile …
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced no sporting events with large crowds can be held at least through September. Hmm. Wonder how many Oregon and Oregon State football players might be hitting the transfer portal?
n Then, in Florida …
Gov. Ron DeSantis practically put out an infomercial for the Sunshine State.
“What I would tell commissioners of leagues is,” he said, “if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida.”
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …
Sounds like Gov. DeSantis is running the ol’ “Statue of Liberty” play.