Jerry Matthews, following a career in Frito-Lay operations, is devoting his retirement to a quest to find the perfect backhand.

It's just tennis, so what's the big deal? Never were truer words spoken … at least by me. That was the title of my previous appearance in Community Voices published March 11, 2020. The world as we knew it came to a screeching halt just a few days later. The professional tennis tournament that was that column’s focus was canceled with 48 hours’ notice and would not return to Bakersfield for two years.

However, with people suffering, businesses closing, and confusion reigning supreme; tennis was certainly NOT a “big deal.” Whether you believe the pandemic response was well or mishandled, it is safe to say that we all appreciate the restoration of at least most of our old normal. Many suffered irretrievable losses and lasting damage. There is still much work to be done, but the recoveries in physical, mental and economic health must be appreciated.