Pandemic continues, morale suffers

For all of us, the pandemic has presented different challenges. For me, the hardships have been relatively few: no one I know well has fallen ill with the virus, my husband and I both kept our jobs, and the transition to mask wearing and social distancing has been – overall – smooth and simple. With job that allow us to telework, and with not having any children, we’ve had a relatively easy go of it.

Despite this, I’ve had my moments of negative emotions.

We were only a few days into the pandemic, back in March, when I began noticing soreness in my jaw. It took some reflection, but I finally realized I was spending most of my waking hours with jaw clenched, my teeth gritted tightly against each other in the face of the new undercurrent of anxiety in all our lives. I hadn’t even realized I was doing it. I had to start making an intentional effort to keep my jaw loose.

Worry, irritation, sadness, listlessness – all have taken their turn in my thoughts over the past couple of months.

Lately my those thoughts have turned to football season. All in all, the loss of football season would be minor, in comparison to the loss of health, loss of lives, loss of jobs and complete loss of normalcy we have experience this year. Nevertheless, fall football is part of the normalcy and is just one more thing marked by uncertainty in our new pandemic world.

As of right now, our local football teams and our SEC teams still plan to take the field this fall. I’m glad, but I also know that could change at any moment, as so many things have – I mean, school was going to stay open, until it closed; the run-off elections this spring weren’t going to be postponed, until they were; spring sports were going to have a regular season, until they didn’t; and masks were going to be optional – until they weren’t.

So as we have spent the past couple of weeks compiling and designing this year’s Franklin County Football magazine, I couldn’t help but wonder – will all of this be a moot point by the time the magazine even publishes?

Here I am, proofreading schedules and stories about game strategy, and it’s hard to be confident we’ll even play more than a game or two before half a dozen people get the coronavirus and whole teams are forced to quarantine.

I get a little cynical when I’m anxious.

Last night I lost it during a TV commercial. The commercial was advertising masks with college team insignias. I just couldn’t help but get a little teary, thinking, What a world we are living in.

Our football magazine is out now, and my fingers are crossed that our local kids get to enjoy a full season under the Friday night lights. High school football is such a quintessential part of our communities; and as trite as it might sound, I think we need it to happen. I think we need football as a little promise that things are going to be OK again someday.

It’s about football, but it’s also about more than football. It’s about tradition. It’s about feeling like we can count on something.

We need that morale boost.