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A lone fan enjoys some social distance while sitting in the stands as Woodlawn hosts Catholic, Friday, November 20, 2020, at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

They say life is a marathon, not a sprint. Well ... I am ready to kick 2020 and the novel coronavirus pandemic to the curb.

The good news is that 2020 will end in 40 days. The bad news is that many problems it brought on — like COVID-19 — will stick around a while longer.

Plenty reasons exist to approach the release of the LHSAA’s football playoff pairings Sunday with a healthy amount of trepidation. A high school football season like no other will likely yield a postseason like no other. I expect the good and the bad.

Once the playoffs begin, it may be a wild ride. I expect a few unexpected upsets and multiple chances for teams and players to achieve things they might not do in a “normal” year.

Pretty exciting, right? The possibility of teams seeing their postseason end with a COVID-19 episode is real. If we have learned anything over the past few weeks, it has been that. That is a downer.

In the past three to four days, I have received texts asking how many teams might be forced out of the football playoffs by COVID-19 issues. I have no idea. I also have no idea whether we will complete the high school football season.

My hope is that LHSAA football teams can complete the gauntlet that means winning and avoiding COVID-19. The fact that 15 teams ranked in the top 10 of the most recent LSWA high school football polls did not play this week underscores everyone's concerns.

I have written repeatedly about living and playing in the moment in 2020. Please remember that the biggest moment happened nearly two months ago when teams in all five classes stepped on football fields for those first games.

Regardless of what happens Sunday, the playoffs are lagniappe. Period.

Will it be great to see teams get to title games and hoist trophies? Absolutely. I have seen it so far in volleyball, cross country and swimming over the past week and it has been marvelous.

Please credit the LHSAA for seeing that vision and helping schools feel their way through uncharted territory. Nothing has been perfect in 2020. Why expect high school sports to be?

One football coach told me over the summer he thought the fall would be like flying a plane and being unsure whether the landing gear would work. My vision now is a bit different.

To me, it resembles being on a Ferris wheel ride with some wonderful highs. The down side is that you don’t know when the operator — in this case COVID-19 — decides it will end.

The fact some football schools have chosen to manipulate the process for power ratings purposes by adding or canceling games disappoints me. I think it also sets a poor example for the student-athletes involved.

OK, I’ll get off the soapbox now. It is time for the fall end game.

Three weeks ago, people told me we would never finish volleyball, cross country or swimming. And we did. All we need is another five weeks. Is that too much to ask? We shall see.

Our 2020 high school sports marathon is not over yet. And that is a good thing.


Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com