Behind the Mic

Senior Grant Hansen is the voice of Fort Calhoun High School athletics.

Editor's Note: Grant Hansen is a Fort Calhoun senior who took initiative and broadcast Pioneers sports on FC Live Radio the past two years. He knows his teams like the back of his hand (far more than the local newspaper sports editor) and has always been helpful in keeping that very sports editor up to speed. Happy graduation, Grant! Congratulations!

When I first spoke to Grant Egger after the girls subdistrict basketball game Feb. 18 about a potential guest column for the Enterprise, I never imagined all the events that would take place between that moment and this column's completion.

Coronavirus was simply at the back of my mind in the midst of postseason basketball in Nebraska. I never expected the virus would make it to the United States much less schools would close alongside restaurants and other businesses.

On March 11, as I walked out of Fort Calhoun High School for the last time as a student, I remember making a throwaway comment to a couple of my teachers about the unlikelihood of a school cancellation. I never could have predicted what would happen next in a million years, and yet here we are.

The conceptual nature of this article took a number of forms for me over the last few months — from the original “thank you-goodbye” message to the Fort Calhoun community to what you read now. This one means a lot to me (I even shed a tear or two while writing). So without further ado, here are my quarantine thoughts.

In short, this sucks.

As the weeks went by for me after the closing of FCHS, I began to realize just how much this community means to me. Obviously, I missed my hobbies. I missed my close friends. I missed the Pioneer faculty that has invested so much into me over the last six years.

Above all, I missed sports. I never realized the hole an absence from Pioneer athletics would leave in me. The feeling created through the daily interaction with the athletes, watching practices, calling games and watching the general progression of a team throughout the course of a season is truly difficult to describe. In addition, the connections I had with parents, coaches and administrators is something that is impossible to replace.

To those of you with whom I spoke with on a regular basis sharing the latest ideas, storylines and general “talking shop,” I miss talking Pioneer athletics with you extraordinarily.

As time went on, I began to miss the little things as well. Seeing people daily — even if it was just for a moment — and exchanging a wave, hello and hearing, “What’s up G-Han?” was such a major part of my life that I did not even realize until it was gone. I even began to miss the parts of life that were somewhat annoying or unpleasant. As I continued to think, three things became readily apparent to me.

The first was how much I had taken for granted. Literally everything I missed so greatly was expected to be a part of my life until the inevitable graduation ceremony on Saturday. Unfortunately, life has a funny way of throwing a wrench into best-laid plans.

In light of that, the greatest mistake I could make now is to take what I have now for granted as well. I have my family, friends and so many other things to be thankful for.

To those of you who are reading this and are going back to school this fall, don’t take anything for granted. Enjoy every conversation, every game and every moment as if it is your last. Work hard and make your communities proud because, pandemic or no pandemic, four years is over in the blink of an eye. I would hope that as a society we take fewer things for granted in the future.

The second thing I was reminded of was how the things that I am missing are not major things in the grand scheme of a pandemic. My dad has not lost his job. I don’t have to worry about supporting children or making house payments. No family member of mine has been afflicted with the virus.

The sad truth is that we aren’t “all in this together” no matter how many times people say it. Some of us are going to be affected by this scourge far worse than others. That’s why those of us who are not as seriously affected by COVID-19 and all of its side effects should look out for those who are.

Not all of us can give large amounts of money or pay for someone’s groceries (as a future broke college student I can confirm this). However, the greatest thing the Class of 2020 or any other high school student can offer is time. Right now we have an abundance of it, especially once school is over.

This summer — and even now — be on the lookout for ways you can serve others. You do not have to do something spectacular. Put down the video game controller, shut off the TV or get off of whatever you’ve done for 5 hours today and FaceTime Grandma and Grandpa. They are missing you and what was normal just as much as you are.

Maybe you can pick up groceries for someone or mow their lawn free of charge. If none of these things really appeal to you, come up with your own idea or spend some of that extra time on yourself. Pick up a new hobby or research internship opportunities. It is up to each of us to leave this pandemic better off than when it started.

The final thing I was reminded of was the impact of Fort Calhoun on my life. It is incredibly hard to believe that it has been six years. A very skeptical, terrified and homeschooled boy entered that old school building six years ago with its walkthrough classrooms and quarter-mile walks to music classes. I want you to know that the young man who is walking out six years later cannot imagine life without Fort Calhoun.

I also want to thank you especially for the last two years, which have been some of the best of my life. FC Live Radio was my passion. I loved watching every practice, game or film session.

To the players, thank you for your hard work and commitment.

Coaches, thank you for letting me hang around the last two years. I watched you all intently and learned so much about sports, leadership and life.

To my color commentators, you all are like father figures to me. It would not have been as fun without you. Trust me I’ve done it solo.

To Mr. Nick Wemhoff, thank you so much for taking a flier on me. Working with you these past two years has been a blast. Your support was always felt and appreciated.

Lastly, to the listening community: Every day I looked forward to telling the stories of Fort Calhoun athletes in real-time to an audience that was always faithful. No matter if it was five people listening or one hundred, I loved every minute. Know that I will always be around. I'll be on the air for Legion when things get back to normal this summer.

Thank you all, G-Han out!

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