The fall sports seasons are winding down, with the volleyball regionals taking place this week and the football regular season ending next week.
Football teams are fighting to get into the playoffs, while volleyball teams are working to advance to the state tournament in Birmingham.
But while there will be teams holding up state championship trophies next month, it is important for everyone to remember that every team that participated in this fall sports season is a winner.
This is a season that not many people expected to even happen back in the summer when everything was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools closed in mid-March, and some still have not reopened to normal five-days-a-week classes.
High school sports were a tentative proposition. Some states postponed the fall sports season, while others canceled them entirely or pushed them to the spring. It wasn't until late July when the Alabama High School Athletic Association announced fall sports in Alabama would go on as regularly scheduled.
A few weeks later, the football, volleyball and cross country teams were starting their seasons, and each week has been a question about how the season would progress.
It hasn't been smooth sailing by any means. Several games have needed to be canceled due to teams having players or coaches testing positive for the coronavirus. Other times, teams have been without numerous players due to quarantining after coming in contact with someone who has either shown symptoms of the virus or tested positive.
The football season began inauspiciously, with Athens and East Limestone having to cancel their opening games due to the virus.
However, those have been the only football games canceled in Athens or Limestone County due to COVID-19 affecting the Athens or Limestone school.
Tanner and Ardmore have had games canceled against Ider and Lee-Huntsville, respectively, but those cancellations were due to the opponents having COVID-19 issues.
The fact that no local schools have been the cause of a canceled football game since the first week of the season is to be commended, especially since game cancellations are happening all over the state each week.
Just up the road, Florence High School has had four games canceled, two due to the opponents' COVID-19 issues and two due to positive tests on the Florence roster.
Lee-Huntsville has also needed to forfeit four games this season due to two separate COVID-19 outbreaks. Thanks to the diligence of coaches, staff and players, there have not been any major outbreaks among Athens or Limestone County teams that have caused games to be canceled.
With the fall sports season soon coming to an end, the onus will shift on to the coaches and players in winter sports, such as basketball, wrestling and swimming.
The coronavirus is still very much a part of our lives, and we can't let our guard down now. We were able to enjoy a fall sports season because of coaches and players doing their part to make sure the virus didn't affect their season.
Now, it is up to the coaches in other sports to do the same. It has been a great high school sports season so far. Let's hope it keeps going strong.
— Edwards can be reached at email@example.com.