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    Photo essay: Phase 2 brought a burst of recreational sports activity to the area

    Soccer goalie Christopher Nunn, 15, went through drills at Weston High School Tuesday.

    With Governor Charlie Baker’s Phase 2 openings going into effect Monday, the Hub was happier — busting out of Zoom meetings, home schooling, and the COVID-19 pandemic to enjoy reopened ball fields, beaches, and basketball courts.

    Seldom have amateur sports seen so much joy.

    There were subtle changes from the norm. A group of young men played five-on-five basketball without calling a single foul. There was no whining, the defense was spirited, and the ball moved around more. These guys obviously have been watching Dennis Johnson poke-checks and Larry Bird touch passes for the last few months on rerun TV.

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    At Carson Beach, runners and volleyball players were breaking a sweat and enjoying life. A couple and their dog floated happily on a paddleboard in Pleasure Bay.

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    One thing was certain: There was joy in Beantown, and it didn’t matter if anyone struck out or misplayed a fly ball.

    College kids played four-on-four Wiffleball with an Adirondack chair for a strike zone. They couldn’t contain their glee, even if they were nearly getting beaned by a swerving fastball.

    Runners in Cambridge, most with masks, took extra time to stretch before doing battle with their quarantine weight gain.

    Scott Anderson, rink manager at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center at Harvard, sat outside and strung new nettings on the hockey goals. He yearns for meaningful games with fans in attendance but says we are not quite there yet.

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    “I feel better about things now,” he says. “I feel like at least there’s some hope.”