Though the weekend of March 27 was a chilly one in Iowa, hovering around 45 to 50 degrees, it was tolerable as we parked our car and made a long walk through the campus of Loras College.

Across the street from Hennessy Hall were students gathered together outside a house to celebrate the return of football. Though the students wouldn’t be allowed into the game to watch in-person, there was still fun to be had as they gathered around a fire with Solo cups in their hands, laughing and conversing.

We followed the other parents past the fieldhouse and down the steep hill toward the football field. Booming music could be heard from a distance. The smell of budding grass and trees was in the air. The players had taken the field to warm up as we approached the stadium.

The sounds, smells and sights of normal had returned.

Luke, our youngest son, had his college football season cut short last fall due to COVID restrictions, like so many young athletes. Fortunately for the players, UMAC (Upper Midwest Athletic Conference), along with some other college conferences, decided to allow the fall teams to pick up where they left off and begin play again this spring.

The game began, and surprisingly Luke got to start on defense. The University of Northwestern Eagles jumped out to a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. It was a great start to the beginning of “spring season.”

The excitement would be short-lived, however, as the Loras College Duhawks made an interception and ran the ball to the end zone, scoring the first of several touchdowns. The Eagles weren’t quite done yet though and scored again late in the fourth.

Though the boys ended the evening with a hard loss, none of us parents regret being there for a minute. The time spent in the stands with the other parents, talking about plays and our team’s strengths and weaknesses, felt good. Like normal again.

I think things are looking up.

Traci LeBrun is the editor of the Messenger.

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