Since sports returned on Saturday, March 13, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our so-called return to normal when eventually the pandemic is completely over.
With sports back, I’ve been thrilled to be able to return to doing what I love most, not to mention it is the thing that’s in my job description.
I learned a lot from my year spent as a business reporter, covering businesses that were new to the county. It was one of those things, as cheesy as it sounds, which shows the resilience of a community.
There were plenty of businesses in industries that were hit hard nationally and in the state, which were able to not only survive but thrive here in Valencia County.
I spent a lot more time in the office in 2020 than I had planned to, which helped me realize just how much I hate feeling like I’m stuck behind a desk five days a week.
Making mad dashes across the county in the 15 minutes between a soccer and a volleyball game is the part of this job I love the most. Getting to do that the last week or so has been thrilling, getting to be at events and talk to players and coaches again has, frankly, been a huge relief.
Events like a pandemic are defined in so many ways by the uncertainty they bring, which we all felt in varying forms over the last year, from the very beginning when the question was if the store would be out of toilet paper, to just how long the lockdown would last, how our families were and if they were healthy.
For me, when sports would come back was one of the big questions that was in the back of my mind the entire time. This is my livelihood and I didn’t know how it would be impacted.
Early on, I watched sports reporters around the country and here in the state get let go or furloughed as events were canceled, and I spent a lot of time last March wondering if I would be next. Thankfully, that never occurred and I’ve been here full-time all along, and in some ways, it worked out well.
I was able to focus more heavily and write features on the local athletes who earned college scholarships and where they were headed, something I wouldn’t have had nearly the time in a typical year.
When I left The PIT last March, having just covered the Los Lunas girls basketball team’s third straight state championship, I had no idea it would be the last event I would attend for a year.
It felt strange to be at volleyball games last week, where no fans are allowed until the county hits level green, and see the seats empty or the bleachers pushed up, but I think it will be even more strange to someday be in a crowded gym again.
However, as we move towards that future and adjust back to what life looked like before COVID-19, with whatever lasting impacts it leaves on us, I’m glad sports are part of the picture again.
It means I can go back to worrying about how I’ll make it from Belen to Valencia in time to catch the start of whatever game comes next, instead of wondering when another game will be played.
There’s something sort of freeing about being able to worry about what time I’ll make it from one school to another because there’s the certainty of knowing for sure there will be a game waiting for me, and another one after that.
After a difficult year, when oftentimes the light at the end of the tunnel seemed non-existent, it suddenly feels like we’re barreling towards the finish line.
My grandparents and my mom are now fully vaccinated, and soon, once I’m vaccinated, I’ll get to hug them again without worrying so much about what sort of disease we might be giving to each other.
Now, I know that soon I’ll be able to sit down with them again and tell them about what I’ve been covering recently, which is a day that can’t come soon enough.