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It sure feels good to be back

It sure feels good to be back It sure feels good to be back

If you crack open the contents of this week’s paper you’re going to see some familiar sights and maybe even some familiar faces, and no, I am not talking about mine or my editor Kevin’s faces.

What I mean is you’re going to see the faces of student-athletes competing and playing sports. It’s been a long time since I last covered a live, WIAA high school sporting competition. I have to go all the way back to the first week of March. I am thankful that all my winter sports were completed before COVID-19 shut down schools and forced the cancellation of the spring sports season.

The lack of live sports did allow me to do plenty of features stories on former Colby and Abby athletes and their athletic careers. I also got to write about where prep athlete stand outs like Blake Draper, Hailey Voelker, Connor Jeske, Chase Sperl and many others will be taking their talents.

I’ve been lucky to write about several seniors at both Abby and Colby, and to chronicle their hopes and dreams as they wear a Falcons or Hornets uniform for the last time. Each story was a privilege to write, and I think they served as an example of what can happen when you combine hard work with natural talent.

Perhaps it even inspired others coming up to ask themselves what they are capable of? Perhaps there’s a fifth grader or incoming freshman at Abbotsford or Colby who also dreams a dream of being a college athlete.

Maybe they’ve been told they’re too small, too slow or too weak to ever amount to anything. Many of the stories I wrote about area athletes shared similar themes of overcoming the odds to do great things.

Speaking of overcoming the odds, I was so grateful and elated to see that high school sports overcame plenty of hurdles to host the first sporting events of the fall season. I watched as the cross-country and swim teams competed in their first meets. I watched the sheer joy on many of their faces as they were given the opportunity to run and swim and compete.

I am hoping to see more sporting events and to see football and volleyball games and matches soon. I was also happy to see that my photography skills are still mostly intact. It must have been all those weeks of covering sand volleyball.

I don’t know how long the season will last. Underneath the smile of every student-athlete is the fear that the season will be gone as quickly as it came. For this year’s seniors, each race and game and match is a blessing.

Ask anyone who has ever worn pads, laced up a pair of running shoes, hit a home run or made a jump shot - it’s a special thrill to perform a physical feat at a high level of execution. A healthy mind in a healthy body is arguably the greatest gift you can give to a student-athlete during the short, four years they are in high school.

I am hoping we can get through the first month of school. But to do that, we’re all going to have to do our part. We’ve overcome odds before, we can do it again.