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Rocky Hulne: Giving kids a chance to play

The first glimpses of what fall sports are going to look like have recently been revealed by the Minnesota State High School League and it is looking like the athletes who get a chance to compete over the next couple of months will have to make their time count.

The MSHSL’s guidelines include limited seasons that will cut back on the length and possible opponents.

Soccer teams will play a maximum of 11 contests in a 10-week season that will end on Oct. 24, tennis will be given a nine-week season that includes a maximum of 11 contests and will end by Oct. 17, cross country will be allowed to compete in seven contests over 10 weeks with the season ending on Oct. 24 and girls swimming and diving will compete in a maximum of 11 contests over 11 weeks, with the season ending on Oct. 31.

All teams will begin practicing on Aug. 17 and they will only be able to play conference, section or local opponents.

While the scaling back of the season and delays of football and volleyball to the spring could be frustrating for some, it’s important that these athletes embrace the fact that they are allowed to play at all.

A common phrase that athletes use is to “play each game like it’s their last.” I would urge any athlete who gets to compete this year to take that motto to heart, because there is always a chance their season ends in the blink of an eye if a COVID-19 spike occurs in their community.

These athletes will not have the quantity of competition time that athletes have in season’s past, but they can sure try and produce the same level of quality. They can do that by working hard, playing with respect, and continuing to form a strong bond with teammates and coaches.

While some aspects of life are slowly returning, it will be important that everyone in the community continue to remain responsible and try to avoid spreading the virus.

The more we work together, the sooner we’ll be able to get back to enjoying a life that we recognize.