There’s all the time an attention-grabbing little bit of symmetry that happens with the highschool sports activities season, in that it ends the place it begins.
We began final August with soccer — OK, technically there have been some softball and volleyball video games earlier than that, however the yr doesn’t actually start till a pigskin is within the air — and completed this week with spring soccer. The spring video games for Vicksburg on Thursday night time and Warren Central on Friday have been the ultimate occasions on the native 2020-21 calendar.
This has, after all, been one of many strangest sports activities years ever. 9 months in the past there was a really actual risk that there may not even be a sports activities yr. We have been nonetheless attempting to determine the right way to cope with COVID-19, limiting followers, social distancing and all the remainder.
Warren Central and Vicksburg performed in a preseason soccer jamboree that followers weren’t allowed to attend. Per week later, officers cautiously allowed 150 tickets to be bought for the Purple Carpet Bowl.
On Thursday night time, a couple of miles throughout city and what felt like 100 years later, there have been a couple of thousand folks packed into the stands at Memorial Stadium to look at a spring jamboree that includes Vicksburg, Port Gibson and Wingfield. Removed from the concern and warning of final summer time, there was a buzz within the crowd that appeared comfortable and optimistic — and never simply because Vicksburg was whipping up on its opponents.
The journey between these factors has been awkward and troublesome. Seasons began, stopped, began once more, and even ended as waves of optimistic COVID checks rippled by way of faculties. The specter of a small outbreak on the unsuitable time has hung over each highschool crew in Mississippi.
The outbreaks that did happen have been remoted, nonetheless. A second shutdown that was rumored in December by no means got here to cross.
As vaccination charges rose and COVID circumstances eased within the spring, so too did our concern and pressure. Rainouts as soon as once more changed virus-outs because the main explanation for postponed occasions. And there, on Thursday, we have been proper again the place we began — not in August 2020, however February 2020, when nobody was an skilled on virology.
The warning now’s whether or not we will maintain from going again across the circle. Standing there on Thursday, inhaling unfiltered air and listening to a crowd cheer on the house crew, feeling the vitality not simply from the followers however from life itself, was definitely proof that one journey round was sufficient.
Ernest Bowker is the sports activities editor of The Vicksburg Put up. He will be reached at email@example.com