By Tony Hooker
“Summer’s end around the bend just flying. The swimming suits are on the line just drying.
I’ll meet you there per our conversation. I hope I didn’t ruin your whole vacation.”
The words of the master songwriter John Prine, himself a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, ring particularly true at this time of this particular year.
2020 has been one for the books, to be sure. At the time of this writing, the Cardinals just finished playing their first two games in 16 days. News of the weird? They played a double header against the Chicago White Sox. News of the even weirder? Both games were seven inning contests, and they swept them. News of the still weirder, yet? With the win, the Cardinals, at 4-3, moved into second place, one game ahead of the third place Brewers, and three and a half games behind the Cubs, even though they’ve played 12 fewer games than either squad. Because they had so many cancellations due to positive tests for COVID-19, they will be playing a lot of double headers, with 11 scheduled over the remainder of the season. Not ideal, but not unprecedented in recent history for the Redbirds. Last year, because of make-up dates, the Cardinals played 11 games in 9 days without a day off in September, including three games in a 49-hour span over August 31-September 1. The Cardinals won all three games, and this spurt served to propel them to a division title in the tightly contested NL Central. One interesting question is whether all these seven inning double headers will give a team with strong starting pitching but a questionable bullpen (I’m looking at you, Cubs!) an advantage. For me, I’m just happy that they’re playing ball again.
Ordinarily, I’d be getting ready for the annual Blue and Gold night for fall sports, nervously checking the rosters so that I could clarify pronunciations, but with COVID-19, I doubt that there will be any sort of gathering. Also, for the first time in at least ten years, I won’t have a mic in my hands, as I decided that 2019 would be my last as an announcer for Football and the VG home dance competition. I’ll miss it, because for several seasons, I had the best seat in the house, for sure, but I will miss the camaraderie in the press box the most. We had all the answers for the coaching staff and the officials and anyone else we could think of, if only they had listened to us.
I’ll still be haunting the sidelines this season, if and when this season happens, to be sure.
For all the students, please make the most of this school year. We’re living in unprecedented times, but always remember that there are many parents, teachers, coaches and teammates who are doing their best to make this experience a good one. You get out what you put in, so give it your all. We’re Loyal to You, VG high! Indeed.