One year ago today as I write this, June 1, 2019, the Marquette Academy baseball team was celebrating its winning of the IHSA Class 1A state championship.

It feels like it happened just yesterday … and also a hundred thousand years ago.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe we live on the same Earth today as the one we lived on then, huh?

On a scale of getting stressed out, I would usually – in saner, better times than these – put myself somewhere right in the middle of society. What anxieties and worries I have I usually can keep mostly under control, although they sometimes add up and get the best of me. Death by a thousand cuts, as they say.

If I am indeed somewhere in the middle of that mythical stress scale, I cannot imagine how those who are more susceptible to stress are getting through these dark, challenging times we find ourselves in. My heart goes out to you all, no matter where you fall on the scale, and I wish you strength as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times.

I spoke with a few football coaches last week for an upcoming Friday Night Drive story on the challenges first-year head coaches are facing getting to know and prepare their teams when they can’t physically be with their teams. It was during that conversation when new Fieldcrest head coach Mike Freeman expressed a sentiment I’ve felt often during these last few always challenging, often isolated, sometimes seemingly purposeless months.

“I’m not used to being able to be home so much with my family,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back [to the football practice field and normal life in general], but it’s going to be hard giving this up.”

For a small-town sports reporter who, on too many days, doesn’t get to have a single meal with his family save maybe a quick Pop-Tart and kiwi before heading out for the bus stop in the morning, that really hit home. I am happy to report that I have been literally fat and happy in the eating-at-home department these past few months. (If you have any doubts, our Kroger and Aldi bills can verify.)

Seeking out silver linings such as these amid dark clouds have helped me get through a lot of troubling times, and I hope you all are finding some silver linings of your own to help you through.

You just have to look for them.

Today, mine is remembering being in the pressbox at beautiful Dozer Park in Peoria for the semifinals and then intently following the title game from home the next day as the Crusaders brought back the city of Ottawa’s first-ever team high school state championship.

It was a beautiful, joyful day indeed.

Trust there will be more ahead.

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