OPINION —  The fall sports season is almost over.

My, how time flies.

Seems like just yesterday we were working on our Fall Sports Preview just before the start of the fall sports season in August.

Girls’ tennis and boys’ golf seasons are over, and next week will be the finals for girls’ and boys’ soccer.

Football has two more weeks left before the start of the playoffs, and volleyball runs through the first week in Nov.

The state cross country meet is Oct. 23 in Yankton, while the state cheer and dance competition is Oct. 23 at Brandon Valley.

The volleyball regular season ends the first week in November.

During my many adventures through the Northern Black Hills covering sporting events, I am fortunate to meet a lot of great coaches.

I usually talk with them after sporting events, sometimes before.

Sometimes I run into them out in the community.

Sometimes I visit them in their office.

Recently I covered a girls’ soccer game, and after the game was over, I was set to interview a coach.

Most people know I am a big Kentucky Wildcats fan and I wear Kentucky gear a lot.

On this day I had a Kentucky shirt and hat on.

The following conversation transpired.

“You know, I have a problem talking with you being for Kentucky and all,” the coach said jokingly.

Then he added, “Seriously, I really have a problem talking to you and all, I’m a North Carolina fan.”

I laughed, and said,” I don’t hate North Carolina, except when they play Kentucky. So let’s not let that be an issue, and let’s move on.”

The coach laughed and said OK, and we proceeded on with our interview.

I love being able to joke around and have casual conversations with a coach.

I don’t have an interaction like that with every coach, though I wish I did.

Some coaches just want to do the interview and move on.

I can respect that.

Coaches are different, and I adjust to them, and they adjust to me.

Maybe that’s why I always have good relationships with coaches.

It’s called mutual respect.

I respect them and the job they do and their boundaries, and they respect the fact I have a job to do.

There was a coach that noticed I had a close relationship with another coach and they asked how we could have that same kind of relationship.

I explained to the coach that close friendships aren’t something you can manufacture at the snap of your fingers.

They are built over time.

I look at it like the friends, heck, even family members you have in your life.

There are some friends you are closer to and associate with more than others.

There’s no reason, no rhyme.

That’s just how it is.

Before I close this week’s column I want to give a big shout out to Brett Lamb.

As many of you know, in 2019 Lamb was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

He battled the disease for close to a year before his leukemia went into remission.

Since I first did my story about Lamb and his fight against leukemia, we have become good friends and stayed in close contact.

Two weeks ago I shot Lamb a text and suggested we have lunch and “catch up.”

A few days later he texted me back and apologized for taking so long to respond, and he said tests showed his leukemia is back, and he has to go back to Texas (his home state) for chemotherapy.

That sucks.

Lamb is one of the finest young men you will ever meet.

All he wanted to do was play football, but this disease has prevented him from doing that, and that’s a shame.

I have no doubt Lamb will beat leukemia.

He’s a fighter, and he’s determined not to let leukemia define who is, or let it control how he lives.

I encourage everyone that knows Brett Lamb, and even those that don’t know him, to say prayers and continue offering support for him as he continues to battle this horrible disease.

I encourage everyone to get out and support your area sports teams.

They truly need, and deserve your support.

See you at the sporting events!

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