The finales of winter sports and all spring sports have now been canceled in South Dakota due to the coronavirus pandemic. That goes for both high school and college sports.

In Madison, many winter sports teams, such as gymnastics, wrestling and girls basketball, had already completed their seasons. But the MHS boys basketball team had qualified for the state tournament and now will only wonder what might have been.

Bulldog head coach Jeff Larson stayed optimistic during the time the state tournament was postponed in early March until it was finally canceled this week. (Daily Leader sports editor Larry Leeds wrote a story in Friday's newspaper about Larson's anticipation of a possible tournament.)

We've read about the disappointment of college and high school athletes all over the country not being able to finish their seasons. And for seniors participating in spring sports, they won't get a season at all.

We understand the disappointment, but we believe in the long run the athletes will understand. It's hard to put this whole thing in perspective while it's still going on, but perspective will come later.

And that will be part of the story. Just like athletes who had their careers interrupted by World War II, events changed by 9/11 or games postponed or canceled by natural disasters like earthquakes, we believe today's athletes will gain an understanding that not everything in life is certain. There are more important things than athletic contests, and the cancellations are for the greater good.

Young people will gain perspective from this situation and maybe even a greater understanding that societal issues are more important than high school and college sports events.

-- Jon M. Hunter