As we approached the end of 2020, most of us were way more than happy to start 2021. We often look at a new year as a new fresh start, a second chance, and because 2020 was the year that it was, many of us were more anxious than ever for January 1.

I was one those people but the realist in me kept reminding myself that everything’s not going to magically change at the stroke of midnight when the ball drops.

Rules will remain in place requiring people to wear masks and social distance as very few (if any) fans will be allowed to attend sporting events.

Prior to the pandemic, I’d say I don’t want to ever experience a world without sports but that’s exactly what we experienced in 2020. It didn’t feel right and if nothing else, I learned not to take those things for granted.

One thing we all heard, if we didn’t say ourselves, is “I just want things to go back to normal.”

Obviously, not everything is going to go back to the normal we once knew but I do hope for some normalcy in 2021, at least in the sports world.

I want March Madness. I want to be able to fill out my brackets with my friends and at this point, I’m OK if they have bragging rights over having a slightly less screwed up bracket than mine.

Hopefully we don’t need to have a shutdown in local sports, whether it’s high school or college sports. I felt bad for student athletes, especially seniors, who had their seasons cut short last year. Some high school basketball teams made it all the way to the state-championship but the plug was pulled and they weren’t able to play in that final game. We were into the early part of high school baseball and softball seasons before the pandemic forced those to come to an end, and naturally, we didn’t see a normal conclusion to those, powerlifting or track seasons. I really hope to have enough sense of normalcy to where that doesn’t happen in 2021.

I want the MLB season to start on time and I want to see the teams be able to play a full 162-game schedule. I want to watch the NBA postseason in the summer. As weird as it may sound, I want to have an NFL preseason, you know, the appetizer before the meal, something that gets us excited about the upcoming season. I will admit, however, I’m OK with a shortened preseason, just want something.

I hope in 2021, all the high school fall sports start at normal time and we don’t have the smaller schools playing in the postseason while the larger schools are still district play. I fully suspect the rules and regulations we had in 2020 will still be in place throughout 2021 and beyond but as long as we have some sense of normalcy in the sports, whether at the high school, college of professional levels, it will add at least a small sense of normalcy to our lives.

Normalcy — that’s what I hope for in 2021, even if it is just a little.

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