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After almost two years in the clear, I finally got COVID-19 and can share my experience.

   Well, I'm in.

It was a long time coming, but I have finally joined the club. I've tested positive for COVID-19.

To be fair, it's not exactly an exclusive club — there are almost 65 million members in the United States alone — and to be honest, it's not one I really wanted to join.

I joined the COVID-19 club after coming into contact on New Year's Day with a dear friend who had COVID-19 (though he was asymptomatic until later the same day and wasn't diagnosed until testing positive on Jan. 3).

In any case, my entire family was exposed during a New Year's Day gathering with friends who we had accepted into our "bubble" months earlier. Over the ensuing week, we all got sick.

Miles VanceI won't detail my other family members' symptoms and the progression of their illnesses — that's their business — other than to say that we have all either completely recovered or come close to it.

For me, fortunately, my case of COVID-19 was akin to a bad cold or light flu. It started with a mild sore throat, chills for a night, then 3-4 days of coughing and congestion. At this point — we quarantined for six days and are now two weeks into recovery — we have returned to our daily lives with only the rare cough as a reminder of what came before.

Along the way, I worked remotely and tried to continue representing the great athletes of the 11 high schools I'm tasked with covering. I published stories on all the local athletes who earned all-state honors, and got great cooperation from some of those local athletes and their coaches to post stories on Clackamas girls basketball and West Linn boys hoop.

I'd also like to offer a special thank you to Pamplin Media Group photographer Jon House for stepping in at the last minute to shoot the West Linn boys contest back on Jan. 7.

That said, I missed seeing those games in person, missed photographing those events myself and missed talking to the athletes in person. That in-person coverage — the chance to see the area's best high school athletes in action, photograph them while they do it and talk to them afterward — is the best part of covering high school sports, the professional life I've pursued for 30 of the past 34 years.

I got back to in-person coverage on Wednesday, Jan. 12, when I covered Centennial at Clackamas wrestling, kept it going with Nelson at Gresham swimming and Milwaukie at Hillsboro girls basketball on Thursday, Jan. 13, and finally, ended the week with Lakeridge at Lake Oswego boys basketball on Friday, Jan. 14.

To conclude, I'd add this. Left to my own devices, I would have followed the advice of the late, great Groucho Marx — "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

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