July and August were just a small taste of what we were in for as administrators, athletes, coaches, parents and even sportswriters.

The amount of time spent talking about modified schedules, safety protocols and all other adjustments was astronomical.

While it certainly pales in comparison to what our elected officials and healthcare workers are facing on a daily basis, it was a whirlwind that I never knew we were capable of facing in athletics.

I don’t believe I was alone in wondering whether or not we’d make it one day, week, let alone one month into the fall sports season. Yet, less than two months after starting, we’re in the thick of the postseason.

It certainly hasn’t come without hiccups, especially for Derby and its two-week football quarantine. At the same time, I believe we’ve seen a lot of value in pushing through what will be a semester to remember.

My journey in playing sports in high school wasn’t one that I was particularly fond of. Long story short, I wasn’t a part of a particularly close grade and the amount of fires that had to be put out significantly outnumbered the amount of wins we had through middle and high school. What I longed for as an athlete was to find cohesiveness and I was unable to find it in any shape or form.

What I’ve observed in Derby couldn’t be more opposite.

It’s remarkable to see the shift that has taken place from the time COVID-19 showed its face in March to where we stand near the end of the fall. We strip away layers of what defines some of these kids, such as cancelling spring sports, and you find what they’re made of. It’s not an easy situation for anyone, let alone a teenager.

It’s an age where you gravitate toward what gives you a sense of identity. While you do hope that sports are not the end all be all, it’s a large chunk of what occupies the minds of the kids I work with.

Is it okay to be frustrated in what you can or can’t do on a sideline or in the stands? Absolutely. Is it okay to feel like you’re living in a bubble? Yes, because in many ways we are and it can be annoying at times.

At the same time, the chance to compete and even reach a postseason has lit a fire in these kids’ eyes.

I might just be the one telling the stories, but count me as a believer in how Derby’s youth are handling and persevering through one of the more difficult periods of their lives.

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