Scott Cole: High school sports bring back sense of normalcy

Scott Cole: High school sports bring back sense of normalcy

It’s no secret that Hurricane Florence has brought record devastation to our area. While we are fortunate it didn’t hit us with the full force that it was projected, the damage done could take months — if not years — for some people and towns to recover.

As a teacher, you become connected with this hardship pretty quick. When Pitt County Schools came back into session, about a third of my class was not present as they were either displaced or were trapped by floodwaters somewhere.

Lenoir County has just recently come back to school. Craven and Onslow Counties have still not gone back yet and it will be at least a month before Jones County students will see the inside of the classroom.

That’s why recent football, soccer and volleyball games that were played last week have taken on extra importance for all of us in the community. It’s easy for us to see how the storm has affected the area. But we cannot forget about the kids.

Their lives have been disrupted. What was supposed to be a normal school year has been changed radically. While most students will claim they were glad for the time off from classes, they missed their friends and their routine.

One of my students said the reason he came to school, more than anything, was that we had air conditioning in the school while Grifton was without power for over a week. Some students are grateful for a chance at a warm meal. Other students are glad they have access to WiFi again.

For senior students in Craven and Jones counties, this has been a year they will never forget and not for fun reasons that most high school students would hope for.

Now that schools are back in session, students are getting ready for homecoming games and spirit weeks. The resumption of high school sports adds a welcome distraction from all that has been going on around us.

Sitting in the stands Friday night, you saw people cheering for their teams. Players were excited to put on a performance in front of their friends, families and fans. Some of our young men and women are looking to play their way onto a college team and take their talents elsewhere.

More than anything, the games are a sign things are getting back to normal. Our community has been ravaged by storms before and will again. The communities of Eastern North Carolina will rally together and heal.

Seeing a student-athlete spike a volleyball, drill a goal from 25 feet out past a diving goalie or run a game-winning touchdown as time runs out are a sign that things are getting better and will continue to do so.

We are a strong community. Our kids see how strong and resilient we are and will react to how we react. They’ve seen a lot of bad in the last few weeks, but they have also seen a lot of good in this community. Now it is time to let the kids be kids again and it is time for us to cheer them on and encourage them.

Bring on the popcorn and let’s cheer them on.

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Applebee's on West Vernon Avenue has closed

Applebee's on West Vernon Avenue has closed

Jones County family that has helped others, is helped during and after Florence

Jones County family that has helped others, is helped during and after Florence