Jeremy Mug

I closed my eyes. I felt the itchy feeling on my both calf muscles and my elbows. For those who don’t know I have terrible allergies.

Grass, Weeds, trees, dust mites and pet dander, are all of in my list of ailments during the spring, summer and fall.

The constant itching and sniffles have become the norm for me. It’s been this way as long as I can remember. I took allergy shots in high school. They helped, but far from cured I am.

The hypoallergenic being that I am couldn’t help but bask in my weakness this weekend. I sat, flat looking up a hole three at Monroe Golf and Country Club waiting for a group of golfers to hit their tee shots toward a short par three.

It was hot. My allergies are now angry after being exposed to every thing they hate. Even now I nurse a large, itching lump on my left leg from either the grass or ant bites.

I didn’t care and still don’t. It’s everything I’ve missed.

There were moments on Saturday as I walked the holes with my camera taking photos of the North Georgia Junior Golf spring finale that I stopped and smelled the roses as they say.

When I closed my eyes it almost felt normal.

Sunday hammered home that feeling. There was NASCAR on television. I was glued my set for the first time since mid March.

I grabbed some snacks and soaked it in. I needed it. I hopped about Monday morning refreshed.

It almost felt normal.

“Almost.”

Almost is a humbling word. It brings you back to reality when you fly above the world in your own sphere of whatever you’re feeling.

If it’s bad, you get a sense of relief that it’s not real. If it’s good, it can be gut wrenching.

That law applies to the case of this weekend. Normal was near and we flirted with it. But upon closer looks and a step away from the nostalgia that we’ve all been eager to experience the signs of the times show themselves in subtle ways.

Walking the course on Saturday people remained socially distanced with the occasional mask covering their face. There were awkward moments that would have normally turned into a handshake or even a hug that had to be decided against in honor of social distancing. Kevin Harvick emerged victorious from his racecar in Darlington, South Carolina to silence. Fans were not allowed at NASCAR’s first event since early March. His photo in victory lane saw him alone, mask bound and dry of champagne and coke products spewing in joyfully about. Yes, it was almost normal.Once the golf and the racing stopped my mind went back to where it’s been since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The same constant question continues ringing in my head. What’s next?

These little moments of normal will increase in the coming weeks. However, we need to remain aware of what’s at stake. COVID-19 is still here. We’re going to have to learn to live with it until we don’t have to. Sports are low on the importance list when it comes to this virus, but that normal feeling that I felt this weekend, well that gives me hope.

We’re almost ready to get up to return the punches the pandemic has thrown at us. There’s that word again.

Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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