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A great step forward

Like many in the area sports world, I look back this month and see how dramatically my life changed a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

I was in the middle of a busy winter sports season and watched as it all came to a screeching halt. Athletes and teams saw all the effort they had put into getting to the post-season go for naught as tournaments were postponed and then cancelled all together. 

Losing out on a season and not having closure to a championship that might have been are a difficult life lesson. But in the months that followed, sports would be easier to put in perspective when people around the world could only hide in their homes and watch as the death toll climbed.

As more was learned about the virus we were able to find work arounds that included safer, though not fool proof, ways to get back to everyday life and even sports. Most of the football and volleyball seasons in South Dakota played out last fall and the gymnastics and wrestling seasons recently concluded. In the next two weeks the high school girls and boys basketball classes will conclude their seasons. 

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The challenges from the virus are visible to me as I go from gym to gym even now and see where mask wearing in the crowd is uniform in some places and little more than a nice idea in others.

For me the reason I came back to covering sports was not only because I love it, but because I felt I could control my own safety at this job. I choose to wear a mask and stand or sit distanced from others where I am still able to get the job done.

Being able to work safely takes a huge step forward for me this week as I have qualified to get my first dose of vaccine. Who knew having a heart attack and stints put in back in 2011 would pay off this well in the future!

While the vaccine doesn’t mean the world or I are out of the woods yet, I can’t help but hope it does mean that I am beginning to see a clearing beyond the branches. My thanks to Dr. Fauci and all the other experts who brought me to this day. And my condolences to the families touched by this virus who were not as fortunate.

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