An extended toast: To wishful thinking and quick healing.

Here's to a (soon, hopefully) return to normal and a timely return to long nights in the bleachers and braving the elements at the sport of your choosing. Same, too, for long lines at the concession stand, tailgates wherever you can find them and finding the perfect seat not too close to the student section.

Here's to updated shot records and the renewed love affair with the hard tile floors and buzzing florescent lights of classrooms. With luck, kids will be back in school before Easter and coaches will finally be allowed to dust off the gear and let it breathe for the first time in a year.

May 2021 be a time where you and I, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Sports Fan, find a place in the cheap seats and watch our kids run around. Let the new year allow us to treat sports as a release instead of it feeling like a consequence for the spread of a disease that's definitely not our fault.

Let us be pleasantly reminded how much joy we get from the endless grind of practice and questioning a ref's call on game day, of the pure joy the swell of a crowd's cheer can do for a simple adrenaline rush.

May 2021 allow us to take back all the things our neighbors took from us: Texas became the mailing address for Lobos basketball and the New Mexico Bowl (we feel you, Rose Bowl); Arizona swiped Aggies hoops from our friends down south; Nevada took the maiden voyage of the SS Danny Gonzales; everywhere else got to experience Somos Unidos and and savor the United without us.

While we're at it, the coronavirus needs to hand back the Fuego and let us spread a blanket on the berm for fireworks shows after Isotopes games. It needs to dial it down a few notches and let high school sports roar back to life just five weeks from now, to move aside long enough for Little League and pickup hoops to come back.

May the coming months see the numbers diminish enough to give us football state championship games in April, a basketball state tournament in May and title dates for track and baseball on the far side of the summer solstice.

As long as we're being optimistic, how about 2021 give us a win or two for Jerome Rivera in the octagon, Mike Smith take home a few more crowns on the dirt oval and Ron Porterfield flash his World Series ring with the hopes of adding another when the Dodgers return this spring.

With all we lost in 2020, give us the chance to see Santa Fe's basketball giants at Capital and Santa Fe High relive the magic we were deprived of in March.

Finally, let us all get back to work. Give us the freedom to walk out the door without masks, to re-learn what it's like to sit at an actual desk and spend our nights and weekends driving to the field, the gym or the ballpark, shelling out a few bucks and get down to the business of erasing the words 'social distancing' from our lexicon.

Maybe less sheltering in place and more gathering in big groups without worrying about who's carrying what or if we're being exposed to anything.

We're not asking for much.

Will Webber is The New Mexican's sports editor. Contact him at wwebber@sfnewemexican.com.

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