I’m not an eternal optimist – I do know that everything isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows just because the calendar flipped over to 2021 this past Thursday at midnight.

It’s easy to put 2020 in the rearview mirror and think that things are magically going to be fixed in 2021, but that’s not the case yet. We still have some uncertain times ahead, but I’m also choosing to be optimistic about this year.

I’m not really going to come out and say that I’m looking forward to certain things that I, along with the rest of you, missed out on in 2020, but I’m going to be optimistic and hope to see a great many things of them come to fruition.

My first priority and the first thing I hope to see happen this year is for us to finish off basketball and soccer season. We have gotten this far – all the way through the Christmas break – and have started division play for many teams. We owe it to all the work that’s been put in already to get tall the way to division tournaments and playoffs in February and the state championships in March.

One of the things I’m most hoping to see happen is a full season for our spring sports because seeing them shut down last spring was devastating – for players, coaches, families and for me as well.

I always say that our county is a baseball and softball powerhouse, and it felt strange this season to not be covering those sports well into the month of May.

I hope to see a spring full of clutch hits, dominating pitching performances and those dugout cheers that used to drive me oh so crazy, but that I missed as the background nose of the spring in 2020. I hope to spend sweltering May days at Trustmark Park or the softball field at Mississippi State covering state championship games.

Another thing I used to be lackluster about was summer games, whatever the sport, but this year, I hope to have plenty of those to cover as well, including the all-star games we also missed out on last year.

When the fall rolls around, it’s my hope that things are mostly back to normal, and we can enjoy a football season with packed out stands, student sections going crazy and no more limited capacity.

Personally, there are so many things I want to do in 2021 that I never got to see happen last year.

Of course, at the top of those, is getting back to my favorite place in the world, Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Everything seems to fall into place in my world when I walk through those gates, and being stuck on the outside of them this summer just didn’t feel right.

I hope we can do normal things like go grocery shopping or attend a ballgame without a mask on (though wearing the mask is better than skipping out on many things period).

I look forward to seeing the return of things like festivals, Christmas parades and more, just the little things that we failed to appreciate when we had them in 2019. I look forward to holiday gatherings where everyone can celebrate together, friends and family, as so many of us only got together with our immediate families this past year, myself included.

I know there’s no magic fix yet that makes those things happen right away, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little dose of optimism and patience. It’s time to look ahead and be ready for the better times that 2021 can hopefully bring us eventually.

Melissa Meador is the Sports Editor of the Monroe Journal. Contact her at melissa.meador@journalinc.com or follow her on Twitter: @MelissaMeador14.

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