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Good work everybody on the most challenging school year in history


Last updated 6/23/2021 at 8:16am

Kids, you may not want to hear this, but the 2021-2022 school year is now just two months away. Sorry, but the countdown has already begun, so be sure and enjoy the summer while it lasts.

And while I doubt anyone really wants to look back on the school year that just wrapped up, it's going to be impossible not to reflect on it. It was historic, even though it was for reasons we all wish wouldn't have happened.

Yes, the 2020-2021 school year will forever be remembered as the year of COVID-19, of remote learning, quarantining, social distancing and of course, masks.

In my lifetime, I never thought I'd ever see anything like the school year we just went through. It was straight out of a novel and it's something I really still can't believe actually happened.

And yet, that was, and in some ways continues to be, life in a global pandemic.

Of course, school or not, we all went through it, and it wasn't easy, by any means. In school, however, it was especially tough.

And that's the point. I'm not here to rehash the pandemic right now, but I am here to say, from a sports perspective because I coached two sports during the last school year, we all did the very best we could to get through it, and we did get through it.

Each season, of course, was different.

For instance, I and the Havre High golf team were kind of the tip of the spear. Golf season starts before any other high school sport, so, with tons of COVID protocols like daily temperature checks, daily wellness surveys and so much more in place, golf was the first sport to practice, the first to hold a meet, the first to travel on a bus and the first to do an overnight trip in the COVID era. Without going into detail, I will say, it was a lot to deal with, and a lot for the kids to process, but we made it work, and in the end, fall sports in general, completed a season no one thought we would.

Winter was no easier. COVID continued to dominate everything, and sports were indoors, which presented an entirely different set of issues for coaches, players and fans. And yet, we made it work.

Fortunately, by spring, things had changed dramatically. We still had COVID protocols to adhere to and masks were still a part of the deal, but vaccines were here by then, numbers were declining, and we were outside. Yes, spring sports coincided with the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and it was a much better time for all of us.

But no matter what season you coached or played in, no matter what part of the school year was the most important to you, I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

Thank you to every single one of you who worked your butt off to get through this school year, so that our kids could still have the best experience possible.

Thank you to every coach — we just coached a school year unlike any other. Thank you to all of our staff and administration for your help and your support. We know your jobs during this school year were challenging and unlike at any other point in the history of education.

Thank you to all of our parents and fans. There were times when just being a parent or fan was as difficult and frustrating as we've ever seen, but your support, whether in the stands or at home watching on your computers and TV screens meant the world to all of us.

A big thank you goes out to all of our local referees, officials and anyone else who is involved with, our puts in their time to help us in athletics do what we do. Again, this was a trying time for all of you, too.

And let me not forget our teachers and school staff. All of us know this wouldn't have been possible without all of you. You were on the front lines, and we'll never forget what you did this past school year.

Lastly, thank you to all our student-athletes. Thank you for being dedicated and passionate about your sports, and your school. I hope, though not even close to normal, you all had the best possible experience you could playing sports and doing extracurricular activities during the last year. It wasn't easy, sports never are, and shouldn't be, but you did it, you made it. Job well done.

So that's it. That's my last take on this last school year — a year unlike any other. We all were faced with so many challenges, and from where I stand we all did everything we could to make it the best year possible. Was it perfect? Of course not, there's no way it could have been. But we all did what we could, we all tried our best, and now, hopefully, it's all behind us and 2021-22 can be a year we all smile and one we'll remember as much more "normal."


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