| St. Cloud Times
It’s fitting to think that the high school sports winter season will begin right after a six-week pause on sports to end the 2020 year.
The start of prep sports on Jan. 4 gives people a sense of hope heading into 2021 that there will be some normalcy. Even though the winter and spring seasons will be condensed, we need to appreciate the fact that prep sports are back and we’re heading into a new beginning as 2021 approaches.
When I started this job back in the middle of January, I was excited to be a part of the section and state tournament runs for many of the local teams. There were plenty of memorable moments from Sartell dance winning state to Tech’s Isaiah Green wrestling his way to a state title.
As the winter season was concluding, I was starting to look forward to spring sports like baseball, softball, lacrosse, etc.
I never thought in a million years that my last high school sporting event for about five to six months would be on March 12 when Apollo boys basketball won the section title.
The world changed on March 13 and it reminded me, as well as many other people, that prep sports are a privilege to play and should not be taken for granted.
There are many words to describe this past year, from sad to confusing to frustrating to moments of happiness and everything in between.
This 2020 year has brought this community together and made these cities stronger. I believe that 2021 will make these communities, schools and teams even stronger.
As we head into 2021, there are many questions.
Will there be section and state tournaments for the winter and spring season?
Will the seasons be put on pause again?
Will fans be allowed to be back in the stands?
Those questions remain unanswered and will stay unanswered for a while because what we’ve learned in 2020 is that things change on a daily and weekly basis pretty often.
The one thing I do know is that these activities directors and coaches are doing everything they can to give these student-athletes the experiences they deserve in practices and competitions.
It’s going to be different. We all know that as we learned from the fall season.
There will be different rules for various sports, but in the end, we still get to experience sports in some fashion.
The one thing I learned from the fall season that will apply to the winter and spring seasons is that these regular season competitions will be fun. Since the schedule is condensed, there are fewer competitions in the season.
Therefore, every game counts and that showed every week during the fall season. The athletes were focused and competitive each time they had a chance to play because every game mattered when it came to placement in sections and overall record.
The 2019-2020 winter season finished with many teams and individuals competing for a state title. If there’s a postseason in the winter, I expect more of the same to come from these winter teams and athletes.
It seemed like every weekend I was traveling down to the Twin Cities to cover state tournaments and I hope to be doing more of the same in March if that time comes.
The one season I’m looking forward to most in 2021 is the spring, because I haven’t been a part of a spring season in St. Cloud yet. I started last January and with the spring season being canceled in 2020, I’m looking forward to heading out to the different sports.
I’ve heard great things about the schools up here regarding baseball, softball, lacrosse and the other spring sports. Baseball is my number one sport, so not being able to cover the spring season last year was heartbreaking.
Once the spring season ends, I look forward to the fall after a couple months of summer break. Even though this past fall was a condensed season, there were plenty of great moments that excite you as a sports reporter for the 2021 season.
There were section titles earned by area teams in almost every sport and there would’ve been some interesting state tournament runs if there was a postseason. I’m hoping for a normal fall schedule with no condensed season and teams can get back to enjoying every aspect of their respective sport.
I’m going to admit that even though the calendar will flip into 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic will not disappear. With vaccines coming out and more understanding of the virus, I truly believe that we’re getting closer to that light at the end of the tunnel.
We need to continue to work together and be strong during these tough times. It hasn’t been an easy year for anyone, but that sense of community really helped our neighbors and friends.
I never thought for half a year I wouldn’t be able to cover sports, so I’m going to savor every sports moment in 2021 as each day passes.
I hope everyone has a great New Year and I can’t wait to get back to practices and competitions starting on Monday.
Happy New Year everyone!
Brian Mozey is the high school sports reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Reach him at 320-255-8772 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrianMozey.
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