Amid the horrors of a national epidemic and a worldwide pandemic, athletes are getting ready to play.

Kickers hang around after others have headed for the showers, honing their craft.

At Laurens District High School, the pulses are quickened by the anticipation of competition, not the onset, God willing, of disease.

They are taking precautions that would seem absurd if they weren’t so necessary. They work out in small groups. Some move from one team to another. They keep their distance and protect each other.

So much is riding on their care.