Jack Nikolay

Cambridge senior Jack Nikolay points up as he crosses the finish line at the Palmyra-Eagle Invitational Thursday, Aug. 27, in Palmyra.

For the first time in five months I covered a high school athletic event.

Some of you may know that I also cover sports for the Daily Jefferson County Union.

Last Tuesday I took the five minute drive from my office to cover Fort Atkinson and Watertown in a girls swim dual at Fort Atkinson High School for the Daily Union.

When I went to the doors, I was stopped by a couple volunteers, asking who I was.

That was a little strange, but understandable given today’s climate with COVID-19 precautions.

I walked into the pool to find empty stands.

Again, strange, but understandable.

Only officials, coaches, medical personnel and of course the swimmers were allowed at the event. And me I guess.

Everyone besides the swimmers wore a mask at the event. No one enjoys wearing masks, but it’s even worse in a humid pool.

But I stayed for most of the event, took some pictures and headed back to the office.

Maybe it wasn’t the most exciting event I had ever been to, but it was something. And I enjoyed it for the most part.

Two days later I headed to Palmyra to cover several local teams at a cross country meet. Being outside was a nice change of pace. I wore a mask as did all of the coaches and officials and most of the spectators.

The event was split up into eight races. Freshman girls, sophomore girls, junior girls and senior girls, and then the boys did the same thing afterwards.

Like the swim meet, it was a little strange. But still it was nice.

I had a moment where I was walking to a spot on the course to get ready to take some photos and thought to myself, “This is nice, I’m at an actual sporting event.”

I was able to take my mask off several times throughout the event when I was all alone on the course waiting for runners to pass by for photos.

The race took a little bit longer than usual, but the story got written and in the paper the next day.At the Daily Union I cover eight high school teams. Six of those are playing fall sports in some capacity.

I also cover Milton athletics for the Courier, but as many of you know there will be no fall sports season for the Red Hawks. It’s most likely the toughest decision athletic directors and school boards have had to make in their careers. And I can understand the decision for the schools that do and don’t play.

At some point sports will be back in Milton. It will likely look a lot different from the year’s past. Limited spectators, masks, small invitationals.

But I hope there is a moment during that as a Milton sports fan you can go: “This is nice.”

And it will mean more to you than it has event meant.

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