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Tuesday, April 6, while driving the long way to work, I found myself going through four different elementary school zones, flashing yellow lights, crossing guards, kids in backpacks, parent drop-offs, the whole deal.
It was a little jarring at first, having not experienced this in more than a year.
Quickly, though, a smile came to my face. We’ve needed this, I thought.
On this first day back to in-person learning at Las Cruces Public Schools, things looked normal. Almost. There was some taking of temperatures outside the schools. And you couldn’t see the children’s smiles, on account of the facemasks. But their body language fairly shouted the excitement.
It was a nice, sunny, warm spring day. Flowers were budding and, for you allergy sufferers, the pollen was flying. It got windy in the afternoon. In other words, a typical Las Cruces April day.
High school sports are back in action, too, although, like everything else, not quite fully normal.
I recently drove past Las Cruces High School and saw, at the same time, the football and baseball teams both practicing. It’s a bit strange to have our fall and winter sports competing in the spring, everybody all at once.
Volleyball, normally a fall sport, crowned its 2021 champion last weekend, as the Lady Hawks from Centennial High School defeated Santa Fe 3-0.
As I write this, the state 5A soccer playoffs are under way. On the girls’ side, Centennial is the only qualifier from Las Cruces, seeded No. 3. On the boys’ side, Mayfield High School (No. 3) and Centennial (No. 8), both qualified.
Cross Country wrapped up a few weeks ago, with the Onate High School boys winning the District 3-5A title. The top individual finishers from our city at the state meet were Brett Bybee who finished 17th among the boys, and Tea Bloomfield, who finished 24th among the girls. Both are from Onate.
Basketball games are now happening for both the boys and girls, getting started at a time their seasons are normally just ending.
We’re still waiting word on the football playoffs, but LCHS is ranked No. 5 in the state with a 3-1 record. Centennial is ranked No. 10 at 1-2. In the 8-man division, Mesilla Valley Christian finished its season 2-3, scoring 54 points in each of their two victories.
The “normal” spring sports will go later in the spring, with state playoffs for baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf all slated for mid- to late-June.
April 5, we had just 9 new cases of Covid in Dona Ana County. April 6, we had 25. If cases stay low, vaccinations keep increasing and we avoid another spike, maybe this August our schools, and life in general, can finally get back to “normal” normal.
I’m not sure I want any more “new” normals.