Sports are back, thanks in part to #LetThemPlay group

As difficult as it was to remain positive during the many pauses and delays to the winter contact sports season, I really did do my best.

A season restart date of Feb. 21 seemed so far into the future, but I still had my hopes that I would, in fact, be covering winter sports by the end of the month.

Sometimes when your expectations range from low to nonexistent to begin with, any news that's remotely positive can make you feel like you hit the Powerball.

Well, it's probably more like doubling your money on a five-dollar scratch-off, but it's still a victory and pleasant surprise, nonetheless.

On Friday, when it was announced that the winter contact sports season would officially commence 13 days ahead of schedule, yours truly was truly shocked.

The cynical side of me would say that, deep down, we would keep getting strung along, with one postponement after another until winter changed to spring and season would eventually get canceled.

As far as I was concerned, that was always the worst-case scenario, but after everything that's happened during the past year, I would say pretty much anything is possible.

Could you really even blame me in thinking so?

Regardless, winter contact sports (for now) are back and it finally seems as if things are going in the right direction.

That could all change in a moment's notice, but I would like to point out the updated start date for the '21 season also came at a moment's notice.

At this point, it's just silly to try and make any predictions for the future, so I'm going to take it one day at a time and be thankful that I can be a sports reporter once again.

After getting the good news, I couldn't help but think to all of those folks across the state and from our own community who have joined forces with the #LetThemPlay movement to make their voices heard.

The recent protest in Lansing that saw so many student-athletes, coaches and parents come out and show their growing dissatisfaction with the policies put in place by Governor Gretchen Whitmer via the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

It's been less than a month since the #LetThemPlay gathering at the Capitol, and it took slightly more than a week after the protest for a new season start date to be announced.

I'm not saying the recent developments can one hundred percent be attributed to those supporting #LetThemPlay, but they should certainly receive their fair share of credit.

Anyone can post an angry, uninformed comment on an article or on a Facebook post, but it takes a certain conviction to actually show up and make someone listen to you.

That's exactly what these kids did, and I know their words did not go unheard.

#LetThemPlay has played a rather large role in helping kids get back on the court before it's too late, and going forward I think it's important to remember the group's efforts.

Joe Judd is a reporter for the Lake County Star. He can be reached at