In the midst of a global pandemic, local youth football never really had a chance.
While some sports are blessed with natural physical distancing, and others still can find creative ways to compensate, the standard offering of the Joe MacDonald Youth Football League is pretty much an outline of everything that you want to avoid this summer.
"The reality is that football is a sport with so many diverse positions that need to work together, a physical sport where contact is expected, where it's a pretty heavy component of the game," said JMYFL president Ed Prudhomme this past weekend.
"It really didn't leave us a whole lot of options to do what we normally would have to do."
As expected, the JMYFL will simply leapfrog their 2020 campaign altogether, looking to hit the fields again next August. The unanimous decision of the board was not necessarily an easy one, partially from the standpoint of the preparedness of the local crew, dating back to February of this year.
"We already had a lot of the pieces in place before everything was shut down, all of the recertification of equipment and stuff," said Prudhomme. "The stuff that we could get done was completed."
"We held off making a decision, right off the hop, optimistic that this thing would have blown over by now. Everything was in place."
Turns out that Covid-19 has done far more blowing away of sports dreams, than it has blown over. And while the countless requirements needed to stay within the Return to Play guidelines offered by the Ontario Football Alliance were daunting, there remained an even more pragmatic obstacle for the local football loop.
"The other thing that was difficult was that the city wasn't even talking field allocation until an all-clear was given," said Prudhomme. "The city has a history of erring on the side of caution. If we don't have a field to play on, all other discussions become a mute point."
As for any discussion of perhaps trying to piece-meal some sort of quasi rendition of youth football, it's simply not all that easy, given the very core of the sport, according to Prudhomme.
"You can do some indy (independent) drills, working with all offensive linemen or all defensive linemen or what have you, but even when you break down the numbers, ten people is not a whole heck of a lot of people to do stuff with," he said.
"And that still leaves the question of when and how do you do group work, to actually practice a run play, for instance."
It's a question that in the eyes of those who steer the fortunes of the Joe MacDonald Youth Football League, will have to wait until 2021, most likely, to be answered.