Coach's corner: Scary sports thoughts on Halloween

  • Jon Cohn

    Jon Cohn

Updated 10/29/2020 3:54 AM

Saturday is Halloween, and this year in particular -- with normal holiday rules and procedures thrown pretty much upside-down -- things may indeed get a bit scary.

Forget about the costumes, the masks, the lawn decorations and the horror movie marathon on TV, we may have enough to be afraid of right here in our Northbrook and Glenview sports and recreation world. Grab an extra large 3 Musketeers bar and munch on some of these "scary" thoughts.


It scares me that starting this Sunday, the clocks "fall back." I call it the most depressing day of the year, as darkness sets in ridiculously early. How does it affect our sports and recreation scene here in town? Well, for one, most youth sports teams won't be able to get out and practice anymore, and even more simply, young kids lose the opportunity to just play outside. Worst of all? The cold and darkness precedes the impending doom of winter as it rears its ugly head once again.

It scares me not knowing if fans will be allowed to watch high school sporting events this winter. Empty gyms have a really eerie feeling. Will it only be parents allowed? Limited fans? What will the rules be, and will they exclude non-connected, semi-crazed sports fans like me from going? For me, a winter without being able to watch high school hoops looms frightening.

It scares me wondering what some of our senior citizens will be doing for exercise this winter, knowing that our local community indoor walking tracks will probably be closed. Walking tracks have been the lifeblood of exercise for many seniors during the long, cold winters, and there are not that many alternatives.

It scares me knowing that the COVID-19 virus could infiltrate one of our local teams at any time and maybe wipe out a good portion of their season -- one in which they have worked so hard to compete.

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It scares me wondering how good Glenbrook North freshman tennis player Rina Matsunaga is going to be by the time she is a senior.

It scares me that some of our outstanding veteran coaches at Glenbrook North or South might get frustrated with all the limitations on high school sports these days and decide to retire early from coaching.

It scares me that some of our top athletes and top teams won't get to experience the thrill of state championship play this year (more on this -- and a different take -- in next week's column).

It scares me wondering what the atmosphere and feel will be when I take my first walk into the newly renovated Glenview Park District Ice Center. Haven't been there yet, but the look from the outside is downright majestic.

It scares me anytime I get near a bag of candy corn. That stuff is my weakness, my Achilles' heel if you will, and I am proud to say this will be my third year in a row of avoiding the dastardly sweet candy -- of even having it in the house. I am worried, though, that I might weaken. If I fall, I will fall hard.


It scares me wondering how kids not being in school at the same time, and not eating lunch at school and being in classes together, will affect camaraderie on their sports teams. A subtle, but underrated, part of building team chemistry is seeing teammates in the halls, sitting with them at lunchtime, and having them in some of your classes. Much of that is lost now; will it affect a team's performance and overall chemistry?

It scares me wondering what the Northbrook Park District's new Activity Center is going to look like. This is the good kind of "scared," where you are nervous in anticipation.

It scares me wondering if some of our town's most popular restaurants will end up closing. The ones where many of our youth teams and sports groups might gather to meet after a big game. Another great tradition gone by the wayside?

Watching a gymnast dismount a balance beam scares me. Watching divers come perilously close to hitting the diving board on water entry scares me. Watching a goalie, standing all by his/her lonesome trying to stop a dead ball penalty shot from 12 yards away scares me. And watching football, as we might be doing this year in March or April? Definitely scares me.

It scares me that young kids will be getting so used to their computer time that they won't want to sign up anymore for sports and recreation programs. Or even go out and play with friends instead getting their much needed recreation from those dreaded computer games.

It scares me thinking that this year's senior athletes could have the same end-of-year shutdown as last year's senior class. The Class of 2020 really had it rough. Let's hope no repeat for the class of 2021.

It scares me knowing that this year on Halloween, it is entirely possible that nobody will ring the doorbell and say "trick-or-treat!" But at our house, just in case, we will have gloves on and candy to hand out.

• Jon Cohn of Glenview is a coach, retired PE teacher and sports official. Any topics you'd like to see him tackle? Email and include "Coach's Corner" in the subject line.

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