Right now I am feeling what a lot of people in the whole country and even the whole world are feeling. Something that I love has just been taken away from me and there is nothing I can do to change it. This picture to me is what I think happened. I feel like we had an emergency evacuation of the track and we had to drop everything and get out. An empty track with shoes, implements, cones, etc. just scattered around with no athletes, coaches, parents, officials or spectators in sight. This pandemic that everyone is dealing with is affecting all of us in different ways. It certainly depends on where you live. Our state is #2 with confirmed cases and number of deaths right behind New York. I am sure people in north jersey have a different perspective on this than those of us in south Jersey. Someone in Wyoming has a completely different look than someone living in California, but one thing for certain is we all had to change the way of our normal daily routine overnight. Teaching took on a whole new meaning. From one Friday to the following Monday I had to completely change the way I taught, and assessed my students grades. The first week was a complete learning curve for me as a teacher and for my students. Using new platforms that I had never solely used before presented many challenges. What started as maybe two weeks, was extended to 4 weeks, then extended at least until the May 15th(For now). Now for myself, I have not been out of my house in almost 4 weeks. I do drive around just to get out, but having previous lung complications, I do not want to risk getting sick and then see it get worse for my sake and even more for my family's sake. Having 6 children, there has never been a dull moment at our house during this lock down. Even further, the fact that my wife has home schooled our children, they have not noticed too many differences other than the fact that I am at the house all the time, and we have stopped going out. So everyone is dealing with the same situation with the same complications, and dealing with the same resolutions.
But now back to athletics. To me the spring season can be summed up as the season where all sports got injured. As an athlete I never suffered an injury during high school, college, and beyond that sidelined me for an entire season, but I have witnessed that for athletes that I have coached. This was just like going from practice to a Dr.'s appointment to see what some pain was about only to find out that your whole season was just now put on hold. There is a lot of emotions that you are going to run through, but it is what you do during that injury that will help you when you are able to start training again. Right now athletes from every sport are facing the realization that this season is getting taken away from them. These things are out of our control, but know that what you are going through, your teammates are going through, and your coaches are going through. Right now it is like we are all faced to go through weeks of PT. Of course many of you have continued to train, so its not like you are really in PT, but it is the loss of working out with a team and seeing everyone that you are dealing with. Just know that this is not in vain. Everything you are doing has a purpose and will help you in the long run. I heard this quote and to me it pretty much sums up with what we need to do.
“You either get bitter or you get better. It's that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” ~ Josh Shipp.
So now is the time for all of us to get better. The one silver lining to all of this is the amount of time I have spent with my family. During a time of year when practices seem to get longer, Saturday meets are longer, and normal busy meetings that take place during the week along with weekday meets, I have had an enormous amount of time to spend with my kids. We have put together a shed, gone on many bike rides, worked in the garage, wrestled on the floor, and can I say have had a ton of movie nights. We have celebrated Jeremiah's birthday, will celebrate Micaiah's birthday on Saturday and my wife's birthday the week of Penn Relays(or what would have been). The other silver lining has been how many neighbors we have seen walking, running, and biking together as families. I pray that we will all get through this and look back at this time as a needed sacrifice to help those that needed it most. I also pray that everyone has seen this time that we were forced to slow down and remember it when things get back to normal. Things may never be truly back to where they once where as masks may be the new norm for awhile. Just know when wearing a mask, you are wearing it for your protection and for the protection of others. The one sad side affect of the masks was noted by my wife. While shopping last week, she said it was sad that everyone she saw in the store had no idea that she was smiling at them. So don't be afraid to say hi. Don't be afraid to ask how someone is doing. This injury will not last, and we will be back.