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What used to be normal sure has changed.

We are going to church virtually, watching baseball without fans (but still hearing those fans) and using Google more and more for recipes because we’re cooking every meal at home.

For the past seven years in Ashland, the month of August has included a full-scale Wiffleball tournament that has become a community hit and major fundraiser for Amy For Africa, a mission organization that, by the grace of God, continues its growth in Uganda while building a $560,000 Christian school during this full-blown pandemic. God has miraculously met monthly construction payments that you wouldn’t even believe, and the AFA Christian Academy is on course to open in January 2021.

Our Wiffleball tournament won’t be played in August. We are still hoping for better coronavirus conditions in September or October, but nobody is holding their breath. Playing a game of Wiffleball would be easy enough to social distance, but when you have 40 teams of four players, that’s bringing a lot of people to our well-manicured fields that are at least loosely designed after Fenway Park and Camden Yard. Fans of these teams circle the field and watch games being played for hours in good community fun. Awareness — and donations — have come to AFA which, full disclosure, is close to my heart. It’s been an event that brings everybody together for some fun and a great cause.

Teams are formed with fun names and, while nobody takes themselves too seriously, they do play to win. The champions get a trophy that they proudly hoist into the air as photographs are taken. This is just one more thing we’re going to miss this summer. It’s become an exhausting list.

It was our original intent in 2013 for the tournament to bring awareness to Amy For Africa, but it became much larger through the years, a true community event, and is the organization’s longest running event. We’re not giving up on playing it in 2020 but it will have to be different, which means not normal. Yet it’s important to get back to some form of normalcy, like hearing the crack of plastic meeting plastic in Wiffleball. Maybe we can figure it out.

After all, there is no sweeter sound on a hot summer day.

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