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Spring sports are (finally) back

Many programs across the state are playing despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's recommendation for a two-week pause.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The moment he heard the governor was speaking Friday, Reeths-Puffer senior pitcher Kendall Smith hoped for the best but expected the worst.  

"Unquestionably there was, you know, those flashbacks of last year," he said.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Michigan, Smith feared spring sports would again feel the wrath of the pandemic. Ultimately, it did and it didn't. 

"We just need to be ready," said Rockets interim head coach Brandon Becklin. "We just need to be prepared and ready to roll."

And so, as of now, it's game on for the Reeths-Puffer baseball team. Like many other programs across the state, they've made the decision to play despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's recommendation for a two-week pause. It's a risk they believe is worth it. 

"I think everyone knows what we have to do to keep playing and I think it's just a matter of following those things and getting a season," explained Smith. 

The Rockets will open their season at Zeeland West Tuesday. It's cliché, but they plan on playing it and every other game this season as if it were their last because in reality, it could be. 

"I think they realize how it can be taken away," said Becklin.

There's uncertainty surrounding spring sports, but there's also an undeniable amount of optimism. 

"There was a quote I heard at the beginning of quarantine from PJ Fleck, about how we don't face challenges, we don't face adversity in life, we face opportunities," said Smith. 

Because after all, getting one game is a whole lot more than what they got last year. 

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