South Florida sports programs are grieving along with the nation. As a result of Tuesday?s tragedy, professional and college sports across the nation have canceled or postponed many events throughout the week and weekend.
Cancellations due to the terrorist attacks will apparently not stop South Florida?s football game against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, scheduled for Saturday. The decision to proceed with the game was announced Wednesday afternoon, after many other events, including the three college football games scheduled for Thursday evening, were canceled. Both USF and Southern Utah representatives agreed the game could continue as planned if Southern Utah is still able to get transportation to the game, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. The sports information department for Southern Utah reported the Thunderbirds arranged transportation and, barring any changes in flight scheduling, would arrive Friday.
The Bulls practice was moved up an hour to 3 p.m. Wednesday. The team worked out a little more than two hours.
?We just did our normal thing. We went out for a little over two hours and just worked on Southern Utah and tried to work on the option a little bit. We talked a lot about the game but all of us hurt and all of us are depressed,? USF coach Jim Leavitt said. ?We are trying to get ourselves ready to play. We continue to pray for so many in our country right now.?
Leavitt spoke of the team?s feelings on the tragedy of Tuesday.
?We are all struggling, but we felt like we have to show resiliency in our hearts and we think we can be a part of the healing process by going out and playing. It?ll be difficult for all people, but I think we have to move forward,? he said. ?I know every time I?ve tried to face adversity it is hard and I?ve always tried to bow up and attack it and that?s the only way I know how we can deal with it. It?s a very difficult situation.?
Unlike football, some sports have decided to cancel or postpone the events scheduled for later this week. Sports such as volleyball, men?s and women?s cross country, men?s tennis and women?s soccer have all canceled events.
Men?s tennis was slated to host Brown, Wake Forest and Central Florida in the USF Fall Classic Friday and Saturday, but the event has been postponed until Oct. 12-14.
?A couple of the teams, especially Brown University who fly out of Boston, will find it almost impossible with the current situation to leave,? USF tennis coach Don Barr said.
Wake Forest belongs to the Atlantic Coast Conference, which canceled all sporting events through the weekend.
Barr said his initial concern about Tuesday?s tragedy was the well-being of his players. He said his first action was to meet with the players Tuesday afternoon.
?The first thing I did yesterday is I went over to the Fontana Hall and met with some of the kids and made sure that they called back home,? he said. ?I know a couple of the German players said they had already talked to their parents and they had been watching for the past two hours and I had seen the kids around noon.?
Another sport planning to host a tournament this weekend was volleyball, which was scheduled to compete in the Best Western Invitational. The tournament has been canceled with no announced rescheduling. USF coach Nancy Mueller also expressed her team’s concerns were with the country and not volleyball.
?I think it (the cancellation) is probably for the best in this time of mourning. I think it?s important,? Mueller said. ?I think the players are going to be a little afraid to fly. There is just too much on the national level that is more important right now.?
The volleyball team did practice Wednesday afternoon, but Mueller said due to the nation?s problems, the Bulls did not practice long.
?We had a practice today, but we just had the team go ahead and go home. They were all pretty much glued to their televisions the whole day yesterday,” she said.
“We talked about it today and we are all just in shock and the girls were expressing their shock about what is going on.?
Mueller also discussed the feelings of foreign athletes on the volleyball team.
?Unfortunately for our foreign athletes it is really scary for them. They are unable to go home, they just are trying to talk to their parents. You let down your guard a little bit and look what happens,? Mueller said.
Women?s soccer canceled its match in Miami Friday. Men?s and women?s cross country will not travel to a meet at North Carolina State this weekend because of the ACC cancellations. Women?s softball tryouts, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, have been rescheduled for Wed., Sept. 19.
Contact Jarrett Guthrie at firstname.lastname@example.org