We salute the Cooperstown Central School’s varsity boys’ soccer team for a 2021 season that was a resounding success, a joy to witness, and a giant step forward on our slow walk ‘back to normal.’
We send that same salute to the Cherry Valley/ Springfield boys’ varsity soccer team, Cooperstown’s girls varsity swimmers, Oneonta’s boys’ varsity cross country runners, the Head of the Fish and Head of the Charles rowers, and every other school team and athlete who got out there and played your game.
Take a bow, too, you coaches, assistants, volunteers, parents, teachers, bus drivers, car caravan coordinators, and anyone who guided and supported players along their ways, then made sure the sports stepped aside for homework and other school duties.
If last year was a year like none other, this year — regardless of the outcome of any single game or any season — had to be a bounce back like none other. Every practice, every contest, every chilly rainstorm or blustery afternoon an opportunity to root for people who a year ago stared out onto empty fields and, perhaps — like the rest of us — wondered if they’d ever get out there and play again.
The pandemic didn’t magically disappear over the summer months and indeed continues to rear its ugly head in caseload count, as well as in challenging every coach, player, and school administrator to decipher the moving-goalpost guidelines that either allow or don’t allow our students to play.
But to all who rose to that particular and unique demand, well done.
To be sure, there are individual disappointments along the way. Maybe a game lost, or a season with a
not-so-stellar record. Perhaps a few on-the-field trip-ups that these kids will remember forever, and
probably many more that were forgotten within seconds. And while these things indeed matter, they can’t outdo the fact that every one of these teams hit the ultimate goal: they got to compete.
Big congratulations to all those teams with shining season-ending records — you did great and you deserve every accolade. And every one of you out there who put on a school uniform and got on the field and, as they say, ‘left it all out there,’ we hope you had fun. That’s what it’s all about.
Bravo, too, to the Cooperstown Central School Thespians for their production of “Wind in the Willows.”
We bring that up in this otherwise-about-sports editorial because for the student actors and musicians, they’re inching us all back to normal, as well. It’s no small feat to put on a show when everyone has to arrive and participate masked and distant, but put on a show they did.
We’re looking forward to more in the months ahead. High school’s winter sports are coming back soon,
with basketball and other teams starting to wander through the same logistics that confronted football and soccer and swimming teams. Student musicians are working hard on holiday-season concerts on tap in the weeks to come, welcoming residents to enjoy a night of music.
These all are important extra-curricular events for the students and for all of us in the communities where they take place. A year ago, we wondered if we’d ever be able to do these things again. Thanks to the hard work of the students, the teachers, the parents, and the coaches, it’s beginning to look a lot like we very well might be able to enjoy ourselves in the winter months ahead.