My son is in 8th grade. I didn’t get lucky having an eighth grader and a senior during the pandemic. These two have missed out on too many milestones over the last year. I am fortunate to live in a town that has a middle school basketball team. Nolan has played on it since the sixth grade. When he retuned to school, one thing I mourned was the loss of his last year on this team as towns could not compete with each other at this level. I was surprised and grateful when the school found a way. They would form two teams at our middle school and two teams at the middle school on the other side of town. It would certainly be a modified version of the program, but this year has forced schools to think creatively. The season has consisted of two practices and one game each week. Not attending the games, I have looked forward to the reports of playing time, points scored, questionable calls, and victories when Nolan came home. I will try not to boast, but the two teams on my side of town were the winners of the playoffs and advanced to the middle school championship today. The game took place after my work day, and parents were allowed to attend. I hurriedly finished dismissal and headed to the school’s gym. I could describe many details of this game, but the one thing that stood out to me the most was the sound of sneakers squeaking on the waxed gym floor. I think in any other season I might have found this noise ear piercing, but today I listened with joy. The sound meant kids were running. The sound meant kids were playing offense and defense. The sound meant kids were working together. The sound meant kids were competing. The sound meant kids were back doing something that they love, something I thought would not happen this year. The pleasantness of the sound confirms that my perspective has certainly changed over the last year. The sound of sneakers squeaking on the waxed gym floor was delightful!