It’s been an unusual season of football for the Flathead Valley.
Now more than a month into the season, most teams are still struggling to find a regular practice routine after a series of issues has wreaked havoc on the schedule.
Heat and smoke blew away games and practices at the start of the season. Most teams could practice outdoors for a few days in a row only to be forced inside practicing a game measured in yards of grass in constrained basketball gyms.
Some games were jostled around the schedule, others moved locations, others still were cancelled entirely.
Flathead and Glacier each were forced from their home field in Kalispell because contruction delays lasted three weeks into the season.
Then, just as the smoke began to lift and teams were getting ready for the most important part of the season, a terrorist organization threatens the schools and forces more games to be cancelled.
“That’s one thing that’s been crazy about this year,” Flathead coach Kyle Samson said. “I don’t think we’ve had a routine all year.
“There’s definitely been a lot of adversity for the teams in the Valley. Dealing with practices inside and the smoke and then the stuff that happened last week.
“We’re trying to get back on some sort of routine the best we can. That’s tough for kids. I think kids and coaches in whatever sport you’re playing — but especially football because it’s such a week-to-week thing — we’re trying to do the best we can to get back on routine. The kids just feel comfortable now getting back to school, being around their teammates and getting back to class. I think it’s been a good thing for everybody to try to get back into a routine as best we can.”
“It shows just how special this all really is. When it gets taken away it shows how much you have to take advantage of every single day,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said.
“In 27 years, I’ve never had this happen before. You’re just so used to doing what you do every single day. We said goodbye to them Wednesday night, then Thursday was cancelled, Friday’s game cancelled, no Saturday film or lift, no Monday. When you get to see them again Tuesday, man, you miss it.”
Coming off one of the most unique situations most teams will ever go through, the area’s biggest teams, Flathead and Glacier, will be thrust into one of the wildest weeks of the year: the week where they play each other.
If the uncertainty of the last few weeks wasn’t enough, each team is coming back to a playoff race that is close to leaving it behind.
A game where the city can come together, even to root against each other, could be a good starting point to finding a little normalcy in the chaos of the season’s first few weeks.
“It’ll be good to get out and play that game,” Samson said. “Hopefully for next week we’ll get out on our own little routine for the rest of the year.”