For decades, Tommy Pharr’s springs have been spent coaching baseball, sharing his knowledge of the game with high school student-athletes while guiding Farragut and Christian Academy of Knoxville to a combined nine state titles the past 17 seasons.
But the Coronavirus pandemic has taken away “the biggest and best thing about baseball and sports in general, the chance to spend time with your players,” Pharr said.
COVID-19 has closed Knox County and all Tennessee schools at least through Friday, April 24. No school and suspended activities means no organized practices or team meetings.
But Pharr, Knoxville Catholic head coach Caleb Moore and Webb School of Knoxville’s Jordan Wormsley are holding out hope they and their players will get the chance to return to the diamond in 2020.
The biggest challenge for the players is to remain in shape with no contact allowed with coaches.
“That’s the biggest thing for me right now,” Pharr said. “They need to throw and keep their arms in shape and keep their bodies in shape. They also need to hit a little bit if they can.”
Wormsley said about his Spartans, “We can stay in contact with our players, but the only thing we can provide is moral support.”
As for Moore’s Irish, “Our guys live close enough to each other that they can probably find a throwing partner,” he said. “If not, they need to find a brother, their mom or their dad and throw with them. There’s not a lot we can do. You’ll find out who has put the work in. The responsibility has been shifted to the player.
“We have a young team this year, but over the first few games things were going really good. ... We need the game time to develop.”
Wormsley said, “I understand the need for everyone to stay safe, but I really feel for our kids.”