The major focus of our series on football programs during the shutdown has been on how players and teams are handling their workouts without being in a gym and surrounded by teammates and coaches. Everyone seems to have a slightly different approach to it but the most important thing the coaching staffs are trying to duplicate is the team bonding built during the spring workout period.

That bonding comes through the encouragement and competition in the weight room. The upcoming seniors are beginning to fill leadership roles and many coaches used the same word when it comes to the first step of becoming a leader in this unique environment: accountability.

Players throughout all sports have taken it upon themselves to check in on teammates to make sure they are hard at work during the extended offseason. Everyone wants to be ready for whenever the time comes to get back on the field.

Whether it’s a workout video as a team or a FaceTime call during a weightlifting session, players are staying in touch to keep each other accountable right now. And it even goes beyond sports for many of them.

Players and coaches alike have told me how different it is when they actually get to talk on the phone or video chat with each other rather than just a text in a 30-person group chat. It helps people stay connected, which is not easy right now.

There are not any live sports happening right now but the sports world continues to prove it is more than just a game and it provides lessons for us, as fans, to listen to.

Accountability is always essential whether it’s your job, your faith, your exercise or any other number of important things. Right now, that accountability is still just as crucial for things like productivity and exercise but also just mental and physical health.

Check in on your friends and family and make sure their time is filled with more positivity than anything else. Play a game of trivia over a video conference or just a video game with a friend to spend some time together.

It’s also important to keep each other in check on the more difficult topics to talk about.

We all may be getting a little stir crazy so don’t take it too personally if someone asks why you’re leaving the house or fact checks something you share on Facebook because we all are going through this together and that’s the only way we’re going to come out better on the other end. 

Every high school football team is looking at the same problems with the upcoming offseason. There will be no spring practice, fundraisers will be missed and no one knows what is in store for the summer and fall. 

However, the players are already relying on each other to get through this period and be ready for whenever this all ends. They know they have to do it together and the rest of us need to realize the same thing.

Keep each other accountable and be safe. Sports will be back soon if we can be smart and stay positive.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.