We’re less than a month from football season, and it still doesn’t feel as if we have all of the answers.
Will all the kids — mine included — be allowed to go to school this fall? For most schools in Nebraska, it’s business as usual — until the COVID-19 risk monitor says it’s not.
Will fall sports practices start Monday, Aug. 10? The Nebraska School Activities Association will hold a virtual meeting Monday to make that determination. No, I don’t have any special insight as to what its board of directors will ultimately decide.
Make no mistake: The ramifications will be major, no matter what the NSAA announces.
Will there be a fall sports season? If fall sports do start, will they finish? What will the season look like in mid-September, or come time for the postseason?
All these questions, and few answers — at least for right now.
Seasons have changed at a dizzying pace. Some state high school associations have announced that all sports, or just football, will be played later this spring. The NJCAA has postponed all junior-college sports, including those at Northeast Community College. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, of which Wayne State College is a member, has postponed fall sports practices until September. The Big Ten Conference, and other Power Five leagues, have announced conference-only schedules.
I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of this virus. Yes, things could change quickly because of how highly contagious it is. And, having older family members, I do have a great deal of concern for their safety, as they do themselves.
Fortunately, we’re in an area where people for the most part can naturally social distance, especially the farther west you travel. But a major fear is the impact of decisions made by higher-populated areas and their effects on everyone. If, for example, Omaha and Lincoln decline to offer fall sports, will the other 90 counties in Nebraska also be affected?
So what do we do? We wait. And wait. And wait some more. At this point, we all should be used to it.
But I believe a bigger question is how one handles such uncertainty.
My wife owns a T-shirt that has the word “faith,” a line under it, and “fear.” As in, faith over fear. To me, therein lies the lesson that our society as a whole needs to learn.
Will we continue to live in fear? Or will we live in faith?
I don’t know about you, but I believe there is a God who wants us to live in faith and not fear. Faith that medical professionals will treat those of us who do fall ill, as well as possible. Faith that the public will receive a clear and consistent message regarding the precautions to heed. Faith that patience will eventually pay off. And faith that, someday, we will think of these times in the same way that we think of the Spanish flu pandemic a century earlier.
Yes, times were much different without the means of communication and transportation that we have today. But last time I checked, the world didn’t shut down then, and it certainly shouldn’t shut down again now — that is, unless you want to instigate another economic depression akin to what the U.S. endured in the 1930s.
For several months, I’ve been in favor of students returning to in-person classes. I truly believe shutting down in-person learning and sports and extracurricular activities would have a far worse effect on the mental health of school-age children than any virus would. Maybe I’m selfish for wanting sports. Maybe my opinion is shaped on the effect that off-site learning had on my own school-age child.
That’s not to discount the impact this virus has already made, and may well further make, on our society. This virus is here, and I’m not sure that even 100% adherence to mask-wearing and social distancing is going to fully prevent a person from contracting the virus. And I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time believing a vaccine is coming sooner rather than later.
As for my family, we'll take all the necessary and required precautions. But as I’ve said, I believe God wants us to live in faith and not fear.