First day brings good memories and fun

Charles Chaney
El Dorado High School went through drills in their first practice of the 2020 season on Monday, August 17 at El Dorado High School.

While we may never be back where we were five months ago, for high school players in Butler County, it was almost like old times opening up practice on Monday.

There are obvious changes of social distancing when possible and wearing masks when you’re not wearing your helmet or on the field. However, it didn’t change football had returned and it was fun.

“We’re super excited to have a lot of fun,” El Dorado head coach Wes Bell said. “Our guys really enjoyed themselves out there today.”

While no practice is perfect and there will be a lot to build on for every team, the same message was proven, appreciate what you have.

“I think our guys get it,” Augusta head coach Jason Filbeck said. “They see what is happening and are very thankful.”

For now, football is on. The pads will strap on this weekend for the first time and then the sound that can echo through a town will return. For some, it’s a renewed appreciation for the game.

“It definitely made me appreciate and value the game so much more than I had before,” El Dorado senior Zach Wittenberg said. “Once you realize how quickly it can be taken away from you.”

With KSHSAA’s decision to play sports, it gave something back to the kids they had lost five months ago. Their ability to get out on the field and participate is something that’s hard to replicate at home.

“The feeling of being able to just get out on the field with the team is amazing,” Wittenberg said. “For a while, we had all thought that there was a good chance that we wouldn’t have an opportunity, but we controlled what we could control and took it a day at a time.”

It’s all about the accountability and being safe, while having fun. Holding those teammates accountable on the field and off is key.

“It’s no longer about ‘don’t go drinking with your buddies,’ it’s about social distancing from others so you don’t jeopardize the entire team,” Filbeck said.

That’s why athletes are a different breed. Their ability to recognize the sacrifices needed to be made so they can enjoy their time under those lights.

“It’s taking care of the little things, Bell said. “So, we can play.”