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It probably won’t be long until the ballfields are occupied. Little ballplayers will be circling the bases and running down fly balls. Football players will be working out in some fashion. Fans will be watching competitions in which the outcome is in doubt.

When Johnny comes dashing home again, hurrah, hurrah! We’ll give him a hearty welcome then, hurrah, hurrah! The men will cheer and the boys will shout. The ladies they will all turn out. And we’ll all feel great when Johnny comes dashing home!

It seems like an eternity since this scourge descended on the land. It didn’t take long for athletes, coaches and fans to make like horses and start champing at the bit.

Don’t botch this, folks. Be safe. Be careful. Wash your hands. Wear a mask when in proximity to others. COVID-19 favors no team over another, grants no favors and cuts no breaks. It’s poised for a rally if given a chance.

Sportsmanship won’t be defined by shaking hands. A bow or a curtsy is probably a bit much. How about a salute from a safe distance? Or an elbow bump? A thumb’s up? Someone will come up with something appropriate, and it will catch on. What initially seems strange will become commonplace and a lot better than interminable desolation. There’s no reason kids can’t play ball with masks on. People are adaptable. Once upon a time, race-car drivers didn’t think they could compete with full-face helmets and HANS (head and neck support) devices. They didn’t feel right. They were uncomfortable. No one believes that anymore. They save lives.

Moms already work together. They team up to bring refreshments. Few teams lack a mom who can sew. Players already wear gloves, whether for fielding, batting or running the bases.

In short, they can do this, and they had better. The joy of getting back out on the fields will be shortlived if the dread virus makes a comeback.

Maybe you don’t think it’s that big a deal. Maybe you’re right. But I’d act like it is. Just in case. Better safe than sorry.

This is important.