Four months down in the year 2020.

It seems like forever.

So when folks were sitting down eating their black-eyed peas and cabbage on January 1, enjoying an Alabama win (hey, they were playing Michigan) and looking forward to three more bowl games to start out a highly-expected and promising new year, who knew what was to come?

And then January 13 rolls around for that highly-anticipated LSU-Clemson contest on January 13.

LSU is a five-point favorite over the Tigers. And, sure, there's apprehension. Despite being a five-point underdog, Clemson is a very experienced national championship game team.

Prognosticators  Jerry Palm, Chip Patterson, Barrett Sailee and Jack Crosby pick Clemson to win straight up, while Dennis Dodd takes LSU straight up, but likes Clemson with the five points.

And then the second half gets rolling, and so does LSU. There's that team we've become accustomed to watching.

So life is grand by the end of January.

Will Wade is still around, LSU baseball is right around the corner, and we're preparing for March Madness.

And then the clock stopped on everything.

The Recreation District No. 2 had 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.

A school sports year which started with so much promise and glamour had the rug pulled out from under it.

Questions were flying in from everywhere.

But no one had a truthful answer.

Who in the world thought back in December that a virus would shut down the world.

More importantly, our little world.

This kind of stuff just doesn't affect a place like Concordia Parish.

But it unmercifully has.

Seniors I have talked to have confessed that they still can't wrap their heads around it.

It all seems surreal.

It's like they are expecting to wake up tomorrow from a very bad dream and put their uniforms back on.

My spring schedule was looking like a planning session for the Duggar family.

March 13, the always entertaining Vidalia-Cathedral baseball game became a casualty.

Vidalia baseball and softball and Delta Charter softball saw their softball tournaments blown up.

I was actually geared up to write about 20 games for the March 18 paper.

I had a headline the week before when everything was normal about the Monterey baseball team playing ACCS reading "Still Competing."

Little did I know that headline would take on a whole new meaning the next week.

There was at least one game scheduled for 28 of the next 36 days before the playoffs began.

Delta Charter's girls were able to get two games in of their tournament. Delta Charter baseball was able to get in three games of their tournament. 

Mason Ozburn was a new father juggling his two new duties. And doing it with a big ol' smile.

But instead of filling up the sports section with baseball and softball, the next two weeks revealed the All-Parish basketball teams.

That's always been a difficult chore squeezing them in around all the spring sports going on.

Not a problem this year. Actually it was a blessing.

And now I'm writing about seniors who are having to come up with answers to questions I have never asked before.

"What's your reaction to having your senior season cut short?"

"What's it like not going to school or practice?"

"Has it hit you yet?"

"What about the future?"

OK, I take back that last question. Because no one truly knows the answer to that one.

Seniors should still be preparing for final exams, finishing up graduation invitations and looking forward to skip day (unofficially), not on what the future looks like during all this insanity.

Somewhere down the road normalcy will return.

I won't be wearing a mask and gloves to stores.

Filling up the car will no longer be an uneasy duty.

Greetings will involve handshakes and hugs.

Having a house full for a football game will once again be a fun routine.

Unless our granddaughter wants to watch Minnie Mouse, Frozen, Paws Patrol or dance to the Gummy Bears song. (Oh yeah, we miss you too Jake and Taylor).

Getting back to normal is not going to help the seniors who missed out on some special memories feel any better.

But they will be telling tales to their grandkids, nieces and nephews that no one else before could tell.

And no one will appreciate going to the ballpark more than the Class of 2020.

I know I will no longer take it for granted.

 

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