Iron Mountain, Mich. (WJMN) – It now seems like a lifetime ago, Bucky johnson and his Mountaineers were gearing up for a playoff push hoping to finally find that state title they been searching for. Then just like that it was over. The coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting down the season and changing life as we know it.
“It was painful…Um..people say ‘it is what it is’ but boy, that’s such a weak statement. In my mind, it’s way more than it is what it is. I guess we have to live with that and, you know, hopefully become stronger and better people because of it. But again, you know you got to look at the safety of the athletes, the coaches, the fans, the officials and everybody,” said Johnson.
Friday’s news from the MHSAA helped ease that pain a little bit. They announced the fall sports season will go on as traditionally scheduled.
“As of today, that’s great news. It’s better to have that news than have them say, ‘we’re scraping the season.’ so, I’m happy for the kids, I’m happy that hopefully, we’re moving forward hopefully in the right direction and um, we hope to start football on August 10th.”
There’s no question if and when football starts back up, things will look different. But Johnson said he’s already noticed his players are adapting to the new normal.
“All I know is it’s going to feel normal if we can get the kids back to school, yeah, we’re going to have to learn to do things differently. As far as our athletes, you know, we’ve had roughly 30-35 kids in our weight room since we’ve been able to be indoors and we come down and we do some things. Our head coach, robin Martilla, is diligent. He takes their temperature and I record it. We ask them a series of questions, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. We social distance as best as we can. I know our school is doing a great job cleaning.”
Johnson said he is still skeptical that things will fire back up in the fall, but that today’s news gives him hope. Something we could all use…
“It’s hope and I don’t think it’s false hope. It’s better to have hope than nothing at all and just say, ‘you’re done,’ you know? We have to figure out what the new normal is I guess. You know, whatever that looks like. Hopefully, we can get back, like I said, back to school and back to playing sports because I believe it’s a huge part of our society.”