CHARLESTOWN, Ind. — Charlestown High School football head coach Jason Hawkins looks out at the brand new turf field that's still in progress and looks forward to his team playing on it whenever it's able to.
"I live close enough to where I can come up and check it out three or four times a day," Hawkins said. "It means a lot to me and the community. We've been waiting a long time to get our football field up to what we thought was the standards. We've been playing pretty good football the last 10-15 years."
The question of course is when the Pirates will get to break it in. As of now, the Indiana High School Athletic Association will allow schools to start practices on Aug. 3.
The IHSAA has advised programs to carefully move into Phase 2 of preparation, which allows limited contact and limits locker and meeting room capacities to 50%. Phase 1 mandated programs to have two days of athletic activity per week, with each student-athlete limited to 15 hours of activity per week. Phase 3 is scheduled to begin on Aug. 15.
Hawkins said his team will continue to work two days per week until Aug. 4, which is when the Pirates will get their equipment to continue working.
"We pushed our equipment back to early August," Hawkins said. "Usually, we've been in equipment in early July. Our athletic director tells us to be able to adjust and go with the flow. We're trying to do that and our main objective is to keep the kids safe. Hopefully, we get to play football."
For now, that looks like it's on track to still happen in the fall, with the IHSAA listing Aug. 21 as the first possible date for varsity competition. But Hawkins has publicly stated more thought should be given to playing football in the spring.
Hawkins believes COVID-19 currently presents many concerning issues with a possible fall season.
"It's just going to be a sticky situation," Hawkins said. "I mean, what happens if our school has a breakout and we get six or seven kids get COVID? What happens then? Does our whole team have to go into quarantine? Do the teams we play get a forfeit win? I mean, how is that going to go?
"I don't really want it pushed back. If it comes down to where we think we're not going to be able to play, I wish we could figure out a way to play in the spring. I want to play the season. The kids need it. The community needs it. The athletic departments need it."
They also all need answers sooner rather than later, as hard as they may be to come by.
"That's just questions we're going to figure out as time goes," Hawkins said.