2020 go away.

And don’t ever come back.

Never mind the lions, tigers and bears.

How about the rains, cancellations, virus, protests and retirements?

And Cristobal was out there just to humor us more.

I added another first this week.

For the first time ever, I went to football workouts wearing a mask.

Monday was the first official day for first-year head coach Michael Norris.

Norris opened the fieldhouse door to rain and wind.

“This is 2020,” he said.

Norris had water bottles in a buggy he was going to take home and clean.

There were also other cleaning products in the corner by the door.

“This is my disinfectant station,” he said.

Ferriday High head football coach Stanley Smith walked impatiently from weight station to weight station Tuesday after Cristobal pushed his first workout day back one day.

“The quarantine is over,” Smith happily told his players,”

While several players were outside running gassers, others were hitting the weights.

Smith was concentrating on his players pushing up the iron, while obviously eager to move on to the next drill.

As was evident on the football field last year, Smith doesn’t like playing from behind.

I slid into the Delta Charter cramped weight room and got into a corner to take pictures.

Head coach Blake Wheeler and assistant coaches Cleothis Cummings and Matt Duff were busy watching players lift weights.

After 10 minutes Wheeler looked up and spotted me.

He let out a chuckle and gave me the nickname of “Silent Assassin” with my camera pointed while wearing a mask.

Sonny Nason at Franklin Parish is in the same boat as Norris.

The first-year Patriot head football coach pushed his first workout to Thursday because he had scheduled scans for his wife Tuesday at Oschner’s in New Orleans.

"Everything we had scheduled was going to be outside because we're staying with the quarantine rules," Nason said. "It's frustrating. It's like having your engine all revved up and nobody drops the flag."

The Recreation District No. 2 survived a rainy and cold winter and was looking as good as any other park, finally ready for all kinds of spring and summer activity.

Delta Charter’s baseball and softball teams were beginning to find their identities.

Monterey’s baseball and softball teams were building some consistency after several rained out contests.

District play was looming and teams were ready to make a run.

But then schools closed down on March 16, and the word quarantine was no longer a movie plot.

And the unthinkable was no longer a bad dream.

Although it seemed that way when Officer Kejuane Bates became a casualty of the virus.

It will be hard to imagine a sporting event — or any event for that matter — at Vidalia High without Kejuane.

That is if we have a sporting event. I truly believe the powers that be will find a way for that to happen.

But, then again, I look around and see how lax everyone has become and wonder.

Is it real? Is it being made into something bigger than it really is?

How I wish. But personally I’m not taking any chances.

I want football in August.

I want fans and bands in the stands.

I want this country to go back to normal.

I want a place where everyone can be together without hate and violence.

I want something like what we had last December when the entire parish was pulling for the Ferriday Trojans football team.

2020 has stolen what was left of civility.

Even Drew Brees felt the brunt. The football player who seemed untouchable when it came to controversy found himself right in the middle of it when talking about the flag.

I shudder to think of asking a question to a coach or player and they have to give a no comment because they fear the retribution.

I used to laugh with Wes Faulk at how Rob Faircloth would take his time and think about every answer he would give.

We’re not laughing now.

And now we have one of the most awesome coaches ever in the area hanging it up — his decision cemented by the uncertainty of the upcoming school year.

You don’t lose people like longtime Vidaia High boys basketball coach Robert Sanders and not feel the effects.

Dee Faircloth, Tim Herndon and now Robert Sanders.

Thank goodness we have someone like Vidalia principal Bernie Cooley in charge of keeping the train on the track.

Sanders led Vidalia to the state title game in 2009 and to a state championship in 2010. 

He led many more Vidalia High students to promising futures.

I’m going to miss those fun chats we would have when I visited Vidalia High.

I turned my television off ESPN because I got tired of watching old games.

Now I’ve turned it off news channels because I’m tired of watching this country implode. Surely the second half of 2020 will return back to normal — whatever normal is at this time.

Maybe December will bring another trip to the Superdome. (Whatever its name will be then). And we can all have something to cheer about.

That would certainly be a nice change. And it would also mean we are closer to 2021. 

Which just can’t get here soon enough. 



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