I’m just going to warn you in advance — it’s going to be an unusual high school football season.
It’s going to be weird.
It’s going to be weird not having the usual three-week buildup of scrimmages and jamborees. Practice and play. That’s the preseason for everybody, from coaches and players to officials and support staff. Be patient with everyone the first couple of weeks. And be thankful we’re even there.
It’s going to be weird seeing everybody in masks — not just in the stands, but our fellow media members on the sidelines, too. Will the players’ box be extended to allow for more space for team members?
It’s going to be weird, and awkward, for a teacher at the gate who has to turn people away if attendance meets the likely lower capacities that are recommended by the state. That won’t be a fun conversation.
It’s going to be weird not having concession stands bustling with the usual energy of halftime on Fridays. The program that figures out how to let fans order from their seats (don’t laugh, somebody will) is going to benefit greatly. Also, if you read this and get the idea to do it, how about a little something, you know, for the idea? Websites ain’t cheap. I’ll also take nachos, but with the cheese on the side — I’m a dunker.
It’s going to be weird for cheerleaders and band members — how will they adapt? I’m sure they’ll find a way. One thing we’ve learned is that kids are more resilient than we sometimes give them credit for, and who knows? One of them might have the best way to operate in 2020. Doesn’t hurt to ask.
It’s going to be weird at the end of games — will the handshake line be nixed? Or will there be some variant of it? The show of sportsmanship we typically see after the clock runs out won’t be the same this year. It might not exist at all.
It’s going to be weird navigating this season, but if we all do the right things, the payoff will be worth it. And even though I’ve been critical of leadership at times, it’s only fair to give them some credit when they do make a tough decision. Is the timeline ideal? No, but several other states are not as fortunate and would certainly like to be planning for starting on time.
What isn’t weird is that football is officially back — even if 2020 is an unusual high school football season.
Follow Chris Brooks on Twitter @CBrooksTN and follow 615 Preps on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.