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The strangest year as a sports editor continues

In the spring when the COVID-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of all spring sports and then when the shutdown extended to Dixie all-star season, I remember thinking this was going to be a really strange half-year in my life as a sports editor.

Now with the cancellation of most fall sports, I’m coming to grips with 2020 being a really strange full year.

“Friday nights in the fall are a social event in Lunenburg County,” Central High School Athletics Director Wallace Owen said recently, talking about high school varsity football home games.

I think every athletics director in the area would agree with that description in application to their own localities. The absence of that event will be strongly felt.

As of this writing, fall sports for Fuqua School and Kenston Forest School remained a possibility, though it was looking fairly doubtful for Fuqua.

The Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) has declared it will not be holding state championships this fall, but Fuqua and Kenston Forest have still been investigating the possibilities of holding regular seasons and conference championships for fall sports.

That would mean the Friday night lights could still be illuminated in Farmville for Falcons home games this fall, unless administrators move football to the spring like the public schools did. And the Kavaliers, since switching to eight-man football in 2018, play outside the VISAA for that sport, meaning they could potentially still vie for a state championship in the Virginia Independent Schools Football League.

Longwood University, which is set to resume in-person classes soon, still has most fall sports resuming as well.

Lancer student-athletes who are active this fall could see more coverage than usual, potentially taking the athletics stage by themselves in the latter part of 2020.

Beyond that, the hope is that a quiet fall will give way to an incredibly busy winter and spring that will feature the majority of the 2020-21 sports calendar.

Student-athletes have a limited window of time to shine at the high school and college levels before it is time to move on with life.

Sports may be minor in the grand scheme, but they serve as a stark reminder to me that while much is being put on hold to weather the pandemic, we’re not able to put ourselves in a cryo chamber like in a science fiction movie to freeze the aging process. Time marches on.

This informs my hope that all of us — from top decision-makers and health officials to everyday citizens — will handle the pandemic as wisely and responsibly as possible to expedite the full return of opportunity in athletic endeavors and life that awaits beyond them.