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Will things ever be normal again?

Will things ever be normal again? Will things ever be normal again?

You might have heard the expression “the new normal” and it’s often used to describe changes that are seen in our society. These can be small things, like one social media app replacing the other, or they can be big, sweeping things, like the mass protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

I’m wondering when things will ever get back to normal. Here in the office we have little stickers taped down to remind us to stay six feet apart for fear of spreading COVID-19. I take blame for that — I am a social animal. I cannot help it. I see people, and I want to talk and engage and discuss. It’s what makes me a good reporter, and has led to so many of my sports stories that you are reading during this global pandemic.

It’s been months now since the pandemic came here, months since Colby or Abbotsford had any live high school sports. I’ve covered just about every student that is playing a college sport, or will play a college sport in near future. Now I am doing something of a “student spotlight” where I will be highlighting some of Colby and Abby’s returning athletes and the milestones they are closing in on.

But there’s the $64,000 question: will we have fall sports? Will there be a second wave of COVID? Will there be in-person instruction? When will things ever get back to normal, and what will that new normal look like?

I wish I had the answers to those burning questions. I wish I could step forward into the future and tell you that everything is going to be alright. But I can only travel through time one step at a time.

I can only hope that Abby and Colby students will be back in class in September. Nearly every summer event (with the exception of Dorchester Days) has been cancelled, and that’s probably the smart and prudent thing to do, in light of the pandemic.

But, here and there, little glimmers of hope appear, like those slivers of daylight that peer through a thunderstorm. Plans to hold graduation ceremonies for Colby and Abbotsford seniors are still in effect. Just recently, the Abby school board passed a motion giving the parents the option to use virtual learning or in-class instruction for summer school.

Small, tentative steps are being made to get society back on track. In Wisconsin COVID cases were under 3 percent for several straight days, and nearly 75 percent of all those affected have recovered. The NBA, MLS and NHL are gearing up to finish their seasons. The Wisconsin Badgers football players are back on campus and looking to train hard in preparation for football in 2020. Nothing on Major League Baseball, but that’s a column for a different day.

You’ll see more hand sanitizer in schools, football players and students might have to wear masks in classrooms and games, but that’s better than nothing. We’re on the precipice of a new normal, but it’s nice to see some sort of normal. It’s better than the alternative. M USINGS AND G RUMBLINGS