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I do think we'll have a high school sports season

Toby is a longtime local member of the local sports media. He is currently the Varsity Boys Coach at Foxcroft Academy.

For as many years as I can remember, the third Monday in November has always been the start of the high school winter sports season in Maine.

Hopes and dreams of student-athletes from all over the state start that day with the opportunity of being state champions in whatever sport you are playing, whether basketball, wrestling, swim, cheering, or indoor track.

The daylight gets shorter, but the action gets more intense this time of year…..until 2020. Now, the sound of a basketball hitting the hardwood is faint, and the shrill sound of the whistle is off in the distance, at least for now.

Monday, November 16th, will be just like any other day for high schoolers in the state. If you are lucky enough to be in school physically, you come to attend class, most likely in some sort of cohort, eat lunch and then wait for the 2 o’clock bell to head home. There is no practice to go to, no tryouts to attend, and no chance to further yourself as a student-athlete quite yet.

I’m hoping beyond hope the time will come this late fall and winter, where I will be able to see my student-athletes have the chance to be on the court, playing the game they love. I’m hoping we can play, get better as a team, and start something special with my Foxcroft Academy Boys’ basketball team. My hope is we can take some of the positives that came out of the shortened fall sports season and translate those to the winter season. We can utilize a more regionalized schedule, have competitive games, and give seniors a chance to have positive memories of their high school experience as they move on this spring.

I’ve met with my guys and told them everything I know, which took about four minutes. In all seriousness, I told them I am planning on having a season, one that may be shortened, but one that won’t be lost on anyone. We will build on a few things we did last year, work to get better and try to make this the best experience possible for a special group of young adults. That’s all we can do. There was no mention of not having a season, and there never will be as long as I have any say in this process.

So as of now, Monday, December 7th, we can work with our student-athletes on an individual level, then on the 14th, we can introduce some team concepts. Will he have to wear masks? I’m guessing the answer is yes, and I think we will have to wear them on the court during games. And do you know what my guys will do? They will have a smile on their face underneath their masks because if that’s what it takes to play, that is what we will do, and we will do it with a smile. I just want the opportunity to work with these kids this year, and if a mask is what it takes, so be it. We will look good wearing them.

I look back on my mediocre playing days and wonder what my 18-year-old self would think. To tell you the truth, I think I would just want to play and would do what it took at the time. One wish I have is that I could mask my team’s record during my senior year because 6-12 would look so much better covered up by something. Even a mask won’t fix that. Oh well.

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