UGA football missed its spring practice sessions because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Bulldogs and the rest of the SEC can begin making up time in June.
This past weekend, the sports world breathed a collective sigh of relief. The NCAA announced on Wednesday that conferences could decide if student-athletes could return to campus in June.
On Friday, the SEC was among the first conferences to approve a voluntary return of football players on June 8th. The announcement sent a wave of relief and excitement across social media platforms and it didn’t take long for schools to hype up the players’ long-awaited return.
It’s not guaranteed that football will take place this fall or that it will even resemble a regular season, but it’s an assurance that we are moving forward and normalcy will return.
Football players returning to campus might seem like a relatively small step towards the return of sports, but it’s a promising one. It relegates the fears of the last few weeks to the past and incites hope for the days to come. The long days of canceled tournaments and spring games faded away into the excitement of summer and hope for the fall with one announcement.
There’s no guarantee that fans will be present or that the season will resemble a normal one. But we can hope. We can hope and look forward to fall Saturday mornings, starting off cool and clear, beckoning us to don our red and black. We can look forward to seeing throngs of college students, ready to welcome College Gameday to their city and erupt in cheers or boos depending on Lee Corso’s headgear pick.
We can look forward to tailgates, parties, and playful banter with our rivals before the big game. And we can hope that we get to stand in a packed Sanford Stadium with Baba O’Riley blaring from the speakers as the lights come on and the Dawgs run out of the tunnel to the sound of 93,000 cheers.
Players coming to campus is not a guarantee that football will take place in the fall. But, it offers a glimmer of hope that, with or without fans, we’ll get to see the Dawgs suit up in their silver britches and play Between the Hedges this fall.