I’m a follower of the noted philosopher Marshawn Lynch, and maybe one of his most important statements on life is “get your mentals right.”

That’s been floating through my head since Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles were both strong enough to admit to mental health issues this summer.

This pandemic has been hard on all of us, and the specter of it still hanging around now into the fall of 2021 just seems a lot to handle.

I had my own issues earlier this month, which caused me to think about leaving my job and missing my first football season in the last 29 years. I’ve always been an open book, and I think it’s important to get it out there, so more and more people can understand they aren’t alone.

It was also a chance, though, for me to take the time to reflect, to realize I’m not as strong as I thought I was, and that there isn’t anything wrong with that.

You can say many things about current times, but I think the biggest thing is we don’t shove our mental health under a rug anymore.

I hope the biggest takeaway is to talk to somebody about it. You’d be surprised at the insight someone can give you to a problem that you haven’t considered. The hardest thing is to get out of one’s own head, and realize what’s happening.

We’ve become so fractured as a nation. I’m not even talking politically at this point; we just don’t spend time together like we used to do. One look at the crowds at our local sporting events, or even the attendance at our local festivals shows it. We are a nation and a people stuck in our own little world.

We are all on this crazy ride together, and I think people are surprised when they realize how many people are like them, and struggle with a lot of the same things they struggle with.

We haven’t made it to the first Friday night, and already COVID is playing more havoc with the high school football schedule. Penns Valley is already on its third opening opponent of the last seven or eight days. Warrior Run versus Muncy was canceled on Wednesday afternoon locally, and I found at least six games in District 3 and District 1 that already have gone through changes or cancelations for COVID.

I’m not getting into any debates about vaccinations or masks, but please be careful. We worried in 2020 about getting through a season, and I hope we use the same type of vigilance to get through 2021.

Todd Hummel covers high school football for The (Sunbury, Pa.) Daily Item

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