There's a familiar feeling in the air, but also an air of uncertainty.
Cooler nights are becoming more common, schools supplies have been bought, my kids have a few new outfits in their wardrobes, and it feels like fall. But, the unknown continues to linger, and what is normally a fun and exciting season, just doesn't feel quite right.
Last week, I connected with just a few of the many clubs that operate in St. Paul for a story. A return to school in the fall simply won't feel the same for many students without a normal football season. Whether you play sports, are a spectator, or just exist around them - their absence will be felt.
Sure, there are many clubs that will be going ahead with some sort of season. And as the parent to a teenager who plays a few different sports, I was relieved to see St. Paul Education had included school sports in its re-entry plan, even if it's just practice.
The benefits of being on a team, being physically active, and having an escape from academics and life's stresses is crucial to so many people - young and old. But especially for children, it's a necessity. We live in a part of the world where six months of the year (or more) is simply cold. Sure, there are some outdoor sports we can enjoy, but when it's -30C and dark outside, kids need hockey rinks, they need indoor gymnasiums, they need everything that comes along with the various sports and clubs that exist.
Simply put - they exist for a reason.
A lot has been taken away from our kids over the past five months. Soccer fields have been quiet, baseball diamonds were used just a fraction of the time they normally would be. Entire seasons and leagues were cancelled.
I'm hopeful that for most families, the days were instead filled with visits to the lake, walks, bike rides, playing catch in the back yard, and so much more. But, it's still not the same.
While I love being home with my kids, I also love the chaos involved in pickups and drop offs to various activities. I love the stories they tell me when they hop in the vehicle, smiling, sweaty, and simply excited. Sometimes, they're excited about the sport itself, but most times it's the friends and the memories - and that's what I miss most right now.
Over the past year, my youngest son has found a love for track and field. It's weird, I'll admit. t's a sport I know next to nothing about. But watching him compete, improve and then have an entire season cancelled, was a bit of a roller coaster for both of us.
The other night, he told me he's going to start running every day. At nine years old, it's a bit of a lofty goal, but it made me realize that as much as we've enjoyed our time at home, the lazy days of summer are nearly over, and we are all ready to get back to life - even if it's under a new normal.