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High school sports appear to be moving forward in New Jersey amidst the ever-changing world of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this writing, high school practices can begin mid-September with a shortened fall schedule to kick-off for most in October. Hopefully, that plan remains intact with limited interruption, however, we will all have to collectively hold our breath and wait to see how it actually plays out.

The return of sports will be a breath of fresh air as student-athletes slowly move closer to a sense of normalcy. The structure, routine, and goal-based lifestyle that many have been missing will once again be filled. These modalities won't just benefit them this season, but will likely help to build the foundation of their values moving forward. I wish I could relate.

Organized sports just weren't my thing in high school. I played in some rec leagues when I was younger, but I was never any good. I felt like athleticism was something you were born with, and I simply wasn't. Why bother to practice and work hard when I just didn't have it? By the time I got to high school, I was so far behind most others' skill levels that I didn't even bother showing up.

While others dedicated themselves to their chosen passions, I spent my time playing music, being a mall rat, and otherwise hanging out and getting by through my high school years. Did I make friends and gain other experiences along the way? Sure, but all things being equal I'd say that I missed out on some important things by entirely ruling out athletics during such pivotal years.

Since graduating I have gradually latched onto fitness, competition, and teamwork as vital components of life and I only wish I could have discovered those essential qualities sooner.

So to any young would-be athletes out there on the fence or altogether against sports, please heed my warning and don't look back with regrets.

While I missed out on these experiences in my own life, I plan on encouraging my daughter to find a sport or activity that's right for her so that she doesn't end up with the same regrets that I have.

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