Fall sports in Alabama will happen in 2020. 

That was the big announcement that was made by the Alabama High School Athletic Association last week. 

The announcement was met with much enthusiasm by most in the state as it meant that, not only would sports be returning, but that, with the addition of schools opening back up as well, our lives would be getting back to some sort of normalcy that we haven’t had in many months now. 

But as exciting as it is to have high school sports back, and believe me, no one is more excited than me, it’s important that we accept the fact that things are going to be different this year. 

Covid-19 isn’t going away and a vaccine to help prevent it, while promising, is still a little ways from being made available. This has forced most people to embrace the attitude that we have to learn to live with it. This has no doubt been what has led to the increase in case numbers as people across the state come out of quarantine and try to get back to normal lives. 

Fortunately, since the death rate has remained low for the virus, it has allowed us to continue to try and get back to normal lives, with new guidelines of course such as the new mask ordinance. 

I say all that to say this, it’s great that sports are coming back but that doesn’t mean things are back to normal. This season will be different. 

How long will it be different? That’s something that’s unknown for now. It could be just the fall sports season that’s drastically different or it could be the winter and spring seasons as well. 

Football teams returned to practice this week, although most locally are just using the week as an acclimation week. Local teams will hit the ground running with practice next week as will other fall sports such as volleyball and cross-country. 

But it won’t be without new guidelines. 

Practices will look much different than they have in years past as coaches and players look to juggle social distancing in times when they can’t. The first football game is scheduled for August 21. Volleyball and Cross Country will start at similar times. These contests will also look different both on the field and in the stands. 

Hopefully, our lives will return to normal sooner rather than later. 

However, until then, for the sake of not losing sports for the second time in a calendar year, let’s all do our best to accept the differences this year as the new normal.

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