NOVAK: Something else new for 2020

It has been a year of firsts for me in 2020.

I have never had a season canceled in more than three decades of covering local sports before it ended. I have never had an entire sports season canceled. I have never had to wait nearly five months to find out if sports would continue this fall.

One would think I would be getting used to my year of firsts. Not yet. I continue to struggle daily with the highs and lows of planning for the sports coverage at Leader Publications. I struggle because each morning when I get up, I go through my email and check the social media news and sports sites that I follow to see if anything has changed.

I have to be honest, it had started to take its toll on me until we did kick off the fall sports season with girls golf, cross country and boys tennis. Still, I do not feel comfortable. I still have that moment of anticipation as I go through my morning routine. I am waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Now we have finally arrived at high school football. I had resigned myself to being OK with having to wait until March for the games. I was able to wrap my head around that fact until the roller coaster ride the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the state of Michigan took me on for nearly two weeks before they officially decided to reinstate football in the fall.

I do not mind telling everyone I predicted that we would not make it to the first game. My thought behind that prediction was we had to get through Labor Day weekend. We all remember how well we handled the Fourth of July weekend. I was positive the same thing would happen, and we would have another spike that would keep us from getting to the starting line.

In the reality of things, if 14 days is still the amount of time it takes for someone to show symptoms after being infected, we are still not out of the woods. But we will at least make it to the season-openers this Friday night.

I have yet another first for 2020. I am going to ask the readers of my column and the readers of all the Leader Publications products to show some patience as we muddle through the first few weeks of fall sports. You may have noticed very few schedules printed in the newspapers or posted online. We decided to hold back on those as much as possible due to the ever-changing nature of the high school schedules.

The athletic directors are working harder than ever trying to piece together schedules. They have games and matches that need to be made up if at all possible. They know that there could be more changes down the road if we have a spike in COVID-19 or have a team or two have to cancel some games due to someone testing positive like they have in other states around the nation.

So, please be patient. I will continue to post a composite schedule at leaderpub.com, as well as posting graphics with schedules that only cover a few days’ worth of events for each of our high schools. We may miss a few games trying to keep up with the ever-changing events. We are doing our best to keep on top of things and get that information out to our readers.

I am hopeful that by the end of September, barring any outbreaks of COVID-19, things will settle down and we will get into a routine that will allow us to post schedules with confidence on our website. Until then, please be patient.

After all, it is just another in a series of firsts that we have all had to endure in 2020.

 

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com.

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