I can’t lie — the first sportsless week of the spring wasn’t all that bad. It happened smack dab in the middle of our all-area work, so we wouldn’t have been out in full force yet anyway, and the saved time by not having to travel was a nice bonus.
But had I known the interactions I had with members, coaches and community members at Kankakee’s boys basketball sectional semifinal game March 11 likely would be my last interactions like that of the school year, I would have savored them more.
All along, I knew deep down that school, and likely the rest of the sports season, wasn’t coming back once it was put on hold. But like a team down 20 points in the fourth quarter, losing wasn’t going to be allowed to be a reasonable result. Even as Gov. JB Pritzker canceled the rest of the school year, the Illinois High School Assocation’s announcement a decision regarding sports will come Tuesday gives the sports, music and academic teams a few more days to hold out hope.
I would love nothing more than the chance to get back out and cover some action. Those first few weeks can be miserably cold and, for some sports, miserably wet as well. But now, I would take a month straight of that instead of the current option.
A few nights ago, as I was writing a story and preparing the next day’s sports section, Herscher baseball coach Eric Regez texted me a couple of videos full of baseball and basketball cards from the 1970s, which spurred a fun little conversation about cards and sports and how much both of those things have evolved during the past handful of decades.
It was at that moment I realized just how much I miss the social side of covering prep sports. I’ve written a few columns before about the communal aspect of this job and how enjoyable it is, but having it taken totally away has shown me I still managed to take it for granted to a degree.
By the spring season of my third year here, not to mention the dozens of connections I already had with coaches and other members of the sports community, I’ve gotten to build some really good relationships with a lot of different people. I’ve gotten to watch kids grow into the young adults they’re becoming as they move on to bigger and better things after high school.
There isn’t a school in this area I don’t enjoy covering action from. You never know what —or who — you will see on any given day at any given school. But wherever Cody, Tiffany or I end up each day, we know we’re going to enjoy ourselves and be in good company. I think I speak for them just as much as myself when I say we all miss it tremendously.