University of Central Missouri Athletics announced yesterday that "the other scrimmage" the team was scheduled to play against Northwest Missouri State on Saturday November 21 has now been cancelled due to COVID-19. In announcing the cancellation the team included a quote from coach Jim Svoboda that illustrates just how heartbreaking it is for the young men who haven't played football this year.

In addressing the cancellation coach Svoboda said:

These kids have dedicated a major portion of their lives for a game they have an indescribable passion for. They set team and individual goals. They push their bodies beyond what they thought was possible. They hone their craft. They form unbreakable bonds with their teammates by straining together. All for 11 glorious Saturdays in the fall. Most of them have been doing the same thing this time of year since they were eight years old. So when its yanked away by forces out of their control, it hurts. A lot.

I never played football, but I did spend two years as a student trainer for my high school's team. And football was a big part of the players' and their families' lives. So I understand that the Mules not playing this year is beyond a big disappointment.

And it's got to be harder when they see the big schools and conferences with the network deals, and the donors who can underwrite a COVID-19 protocol that schools like UCM just can't really afford, somehow soldiering on. While they're relegated to sitting in a dorm room watching the games on television.

Coach Svoboda says the team will do what they've learned through playing football:  Suck it up, make a plan and get back to work. The release from UCM doesn't indicate any future plan for the team this season. And this is just me thinking, but maybe they can put the scrimmages against Washburn and Northwest Missouri State back on the schedule for the spring. It'd be nice. Especially for the seniors who will be moving on with life. There isn't a next year for them. And that's just sad.