Forget the saying that ‘March comes in a like a lion’ … I think mid-April can claim that distinction this year.
And actually, the original saying refers to the weather in March but I am thinking more about the explosion of activities that all seem to have started in the last couple of weeks.
It was almost like going from zero to 60 – and this is specifically connected to high school sports, which typically has been a staple in our newspapers. Starting with last spring, we had virtually no local sports for roughly an entire year, except for a few rodeo, racing or fishing accomplishments with a local participant or angle. Once the ‘Season 1’ for high school was approved this school year, we dipped our feet in gingerly and got boys tennis, girls golf and cross country, then added football and, for schools with swimming, that sport as well. But as Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties moved into the red tier and more activities were added, we have seen high school sports ramp up like never before. At any given time now, you can drive by a school and see softball, baseball, basketball girls tennis, track and field … plus the football season just wrapped up. Such as it was, a handful of football games, no playoffs, but the kids had the chance to put on the shoulder pads, helmets and get back to the gridiron.
It hasn’t been hard for me to stay busy, even without my usual sports coverage, since I handle the bulk of news coverage for Escalon, plus edit and occasionally write for Oakdale and Riverbank. It’s a full schedule to begin with and now? Well, it just got a little crazier.
That’s OK; I get along well with crazy.
Just a little snippet – Thursday, April 15 was a normal workday, getting in to the office between 8 and 8:30, an interview for this story, going over photos for a different feature, returning some phone calls, working on our Facebook posts, etc.
It also was a day when I was due in Escalon for some sports coverage. So, late afternoon, it was off for part two of the day.
Starting with girls tennis, I moved from there to varsity baseball. After a couple of innings there, it was time to get some photos for the JV baseball team. Since I had parked on the far end of the campus, away from the JV diamond, I took a break after the photos to walk down the street and get an ice cream cone as I knew there wouldn’t be a dinner break for a few more hours. Then I circled back and stopped by varsity baseball for the final inning, going from there to the freshman football game. Staying for the first half of that contest, it was then getting dark and off I went to the gym for the second half of the varsity girls basketball game. Four sports, five teams represented, and 300 photos later, I realized that Thursday was a pretty busy day.
Which of course led me to Friday, when, at the end of the ‘normal’ office work day, it was off to varsity softball, JV softball, JV football and varsity football. It was Senior Night and the football finale which definitely makes me sad because Escalon only got to play three games and I feel like we all were just getting back into the swing of Friday night lights and getting excited for the ‘season’ and it’s over.
There are more sports to take its place, though, and it does help keep my spirits buoyed to see kids finally getting the chance to compete in sports, be in classrooms, play their instruments; all those things that were so routine in early March 2020 before we lost them. Let’s hope we can continue moving forward and keep trending in the right direction.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.