Look past Friday night

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Emily Hand

When I was a kid, if they had announced they were shutting down high schools for the rest of the year in March, my only complaint would have been that it hadn’t happened in January or February.

I might have felt differently if there had been such a thing as high school fishing back then — and I’m sure there are lots of senior anglers who feel a little bit cheated today.

But trust me, guys. This is merely a footnote to the grand story of a life that’s just begun.

The craziness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been unfair to everyone. The worst victims, obviously, were the ones who lost their lives, the ones who lost loved ones, the ones who lost businesses, jobs and healthcare to things that were beyond their control.

But the whole thing’s been unfair to high school seniors as well.

Your plans to wear those caps and gowns as a symbol of your 12-year accomplishment have been disrupted, along with spring sports and proms.

From a B.A.S.S. standpoint, events scheduled for Lake Cumberland on May 9, Lake St. Clair on June 21 and the High School Championship on Kentucky Lake have been put in limbo.

B.A.S.S. officials are working hard to get the tournaments rescheduled. But with the state of the world right now, who knows when or if it’ll happen?

It’s a bitter pill to swallow when dates you’ve had circled on a calendar for so long are left hanging in limbo — and I know it sounds hollow now, but I promise there will come a time when missing a high school fishing tournament will seem small in the grand scheme of your life.

The events of recent months have carved out a unique spot for you guys in world history.

You were all born into the horrors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and now you’ve finished high school under the cloud of uncertainty created by a global pandemic.

Some of you haven’t even turned 18, and you’ve already proven you can handle anything the world throws at you.

You’re part of “Generation Tomorrow.” You’ve proven that whatever craziness happens today, you’ll still be here scratching and clawing the next time the sun comes up.

That cosmic bookending makes your childhood special. You just have to keep pressing forward.

One of my favorite songs ever written is “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley. It’s about an adult who writes a letter to his teenage self to tell him everything’s going to be OK.

There’s a line in the song that says, “I know, at 17, it’s hard to see past Friday night.”

Believe me, I remember living with that mentality. When you’re itching to take on the world — whether you’re a prospective college student, a future businessman or an aspiring pro angler­— one of the hardest things to hear is that you’ll get your chance “someday.”

But do yourselves a favor and look past Friday night. Look past whatever cancellations and postponements are disrupting your lives.

Know without a doubt that your “someday” is marked on a calendar that can’t be touched.