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After 15 Months, We Finally Crossed The Finish Line...

I still clearly remember the moment it all began: It was March 12, 2020, the Washington Nationals were playing an exhibition game with the New York Yankees, and at 1:05, my new dog Maggie and I sat in my favorite chair and turned on the television.

By the time the game ended at 4 PM, every other team in every other sport had shut down their seasons. Soon everything would be under some sort of shutdown, restriction or other regulation to execute a strategy called “two weeks to flatten the curve."

We all know how that turned out.

But today…without warning or fanfare…it is now officially over, at least the way I look at it. It would be over, I thought, when the day came where I could leave the house, drive to a stadium of my choice, and go see one of my favorite teams without any sort of capacity restriction.

With Virginia Tech announcing today that there would be no such restrictions this year, and Lane Stadium was free to be 100 percent full of orange and maroon-clad fans, bouncing up and down while singing every verse of “Enter Sandman” as fireworks went off overhead and football players tapped hokiestone with their hands at the end of a tunnel leading to Worsham Field, the last domino has fallen.

It’s over. As a Southwest Airlines commercial once noted, you are now free to move about the country.

I can now go see any team I want. I can go to the grocery store and buy toilet paper and paper towels that are in stock and on sale. No more Uber Eats as I can eat in a restaurant. They’re almost at the point of giving away Clorox Wipes. My collection of masks in multiple colors and representing every sports team I follow? They’re going into that drawer in the dresser for stuff I’m not going to wear any more but am saving just in case.

I can now watch sporting events charged with the energy of a full house cheering on the home team. I can watch a Nationals game and hear vocally challenged fans singing “Take On Me” so off key you need to drink multiple beers to think it’s good. There might even be enough people at Fed Ex Field this fall to sing “Hail To The Redskins” (even though they’re not suppose to) loud enough that you can hear them on the television broadcast.

I do draw the line at doing the wave. You're still not free to do that.

The world has changed, and nothing is going to make things be like they were in January 2020. And I’m not naïve enough to think there won’t be some other threat to civilization six months from now. But today, I’m back living in a state with no restrictions on masks, social distancing or capacity constraints on seeing any of my teams.

We finally crossed the finish line.

It’s over.

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