Don’t worry. I’m missing them, too.

At this point, it’s safe to say we all are.

A lot of things have gotten lost in the shuffle over the past two years.

The Thursday Night Football crew thinks so. They ran a commercial every 15 minutes during last week’s game encouraging cancer screenings, saying they have dropped off significantly since the start of the pandemic.

Apparently we’ve forgotten about the umpteen-million other things that can kill us when all we hear about day and night is just the one.

But let’s not get too depressive, this is – after all – the sports section.

• • •

Some fun stuff has slipped through the cracks over the last 18 months, and has slowly started to work its way back toward normalcy.

Although sometimes it feels more like one step forward, two back, but nonetheless, it’s getting there.

We got to start going back to events, locally and otherwise. High schools are hosting volleyball matches, football games and will plan for more basketball games this winter than you can shake a fist at.

• • •

Spokane has had its fair share of big to-do’s as well.

The newly-formed, Seattle-based NHL team made its first-ever appearance as a club at the Veterans Memorial Arena just a few weeks ago, coming back from two goals down to beat the Vancouver Canucks in front of a sold-out, hockey-starved, Spokane crowd.

Speaking of hockey in Spokane, the Chiefs are – mostly – back to normal, too. They kicked off their season early this month, and will face division opponents until mid-November when they travel to British Columbia for the first time as a team in over two years.

• • •

But regardless of who they are playing, the big thing is they are allowing real, living fans back in the seats. (Those cardboard cutouts were fun for about five minutes.)

Of course, all of this comes with new restrictions and requirements having to do with vaccination status, masks, negative tests . . . I could go on.

But the main thing is, if we really want to, there’s a way to get back to doing some of the stuff we’ve missed out on.

• • •

Which brings us back to the local stuff: St. Maries, Kootenai and Lakeside.

They’ve each got rules they are politely asking us to follow.

Some are recommending masks, but not requiring them.

Others, the other way around.

But regardless, let’s just try and stay positive here. Whether you’ve got to cover your face or not, just enjoy the fact that you’re there, and not having to watch from a plugged-in iPad on the edge of the couch.

Collin Scheel is the sports reporter at the Gazette Record.

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