Serving the High Plains

Sports' return big deal for more than just athletes

Well, the weather is warming up, vaccines are getting into arms, and sports are once again making their way into our collective minds. For pro athletes, sports never really left, just modified a little. But for the hybrid creature known as the “student-athlete,” the return of sports is a huge deal.

In 2020, the global pandemic robbed an entire class of student-athletes of their ability to showcase their skills for college recruiters.

Coronavirus robbed them of one of the most unforgettable times in their lives; a time when they can take the field (or court, or diamond, etc.) with their brothers and sisters and fight for a common goal.

But there were no Friday Night Lights moments for the Class of 2020. There were no bus rides to the state championships. There were no Gatorade baths, or buzzer-beaters, or trophies held high.

For the Class of 2020, their high school sports careers ended with a whimper.

But for the Class of 2021, the return of sports came just in time. Most New Mexico high schools have already begun their sports seasons in earnest. The seasons are abbreviated and the COVID-safe guidelines are strict, but legs are running, arms are throwing and fun is being had again.

The return of sports is also a huge morale boost for our communities. It marks a return to normalcy, and just in time for spring.

It has been a long, tough year. Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are all anxious to get back to some form of a pre-pandemic life. While officials are warning us that the pandemic is far from over, the return of sports to our community, at the very least, allows us all to be cautiously optimistic for the first time in a year. Positivity has been in short supply of late, so it’s OK to feel a rush of excitement when you hear the results of the latest games.

We are coming out of a dark, lonely time and entering a new world where things don’t look so bad. And what better symbol of that optimism and positivity than seeing our kids getting back to playing ball.

— Taos News