That familiar feeling

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | August 31, 2020 2:51 PM

For a few hours last week things felt a little bit like normal.

Depending on where you were that is.

With local schools either kicking off the 2020 school year or still ramping up to it, it was unknown if fall sports were going to actually happen, but last week they did and all signs point toward them continuing through the season.

Uniqueness is going to be the name of the game which was apparent for the local school districts during their opening games last week.

The Kellogg High School Volleyball Team played their first match of the season in front of a decent sized crowd at Post Falls High School, in fact outside from a few fans wearing masks, the biggest difference was that the players “on the bench” were required to stand instead of having chairs to sit on.

Kellogg Football opened their season in Priest River, where the West Bonner School District had no restrictions for fans in attendance outside from the now-normal precursory “recommendation” of social distancing and masks.

The end result… Something that looked, felt, and until told otherwise, was a completely normal high school football game.

Arguably, Kellogg had just as many, if not more fans in attendance for the game as the home team.

The visiting bleachers quickly filled and then resulted in late arriving spectators breaking out their camp chairs or simply standing along the fence that bordered the field.

For these fans, the experience was a positive one that might have done more to restore sanity than anyone could have possibly believed.

For Stacey Hoffman, it wasn’t so much what she saw as it was what she heard that really reaffirmed her faith that having sports back was important.

“I was paying to get in as they were announcing our players and could hear the roar of our fans as each name was announced,” Hoffman recalled. “It felt exciting and I know for my son it breathed new life into him to get to play. Teens have endured months of rumors and worries about high school sports possibly not coming back. So their readiness to play was palpable. I hope cases continue to go down so they can play in front of a hometown crowd because he says it just won’t feel the same if the student body and band aren’t there.”

Hoffman’s son Brody is a junior on the team and looks to be a key part of Kellogg’s shallow rotation this season.

Other parents like Tami Wood and Angie Walker were happy to be in the bleachers watching, as well as happy that they were able to be there as a family.

Mullan High School’s two fall programs opened their seasons up in Lakeside, a district that has, for the being, decided to not allow fans in the stands which meant the Tigers played their opening volleyball match in an uncharacteristically silent environment.

“The girls said it was a little weird,” said Stetson Spooner, Mullan athletic director. “They honestly said that the weirdest part was not switching sides after each set.”

The Tiger Football team had fans in theory, they weren’t able to get into the stands, but stood outside the fence on city property where they could still watch the game and cheer on their beloved Tigers.