Honoring Spring Seniors For A Season That Will Never Be
Last updated 4/27/2020 at 12:22pm
Dear senior spring student-athletes,
What is there to say?
A season that barely began is now officially over and many of you have competed for the last time in your athletic careers.
There is nothing fair about it. There is nothing just about it. Like so much going on in the world right now it doesn’t make sense, but you have to accept it.
Head coach David McNeill said one of his players – senior pitcher Sydney Gilbert – wasn’t there that day and asked me to come take the picture the following Monday.
I agreed. That Monday came and went. But I never got that picture.
That seems to be a theme of life today – the days come and go but they all seem the same. It’s like waking up over and over in a Kafka short story.
Nothing is routine anymore and it may never be again. Unfortunately, all seniors – not just the athletes – must suffer some of the harshest casualties as they are denied so much of what makes your final year in high school special.
My senior spring semester at Brevard I only had two classes – Advanced P.E. (weightlifting; which was really an early A.M. card club for seniors such as myself) and English.
But I managed to find time in my busy schedule to play second base on the baseball team.
Even with the artistic license afforded to me I can’t say we were in any good. We were, in fact, quite bad.
But writing this today, I couldn’t tell you about any of those games. I can’t remember final scores or who the starting pitcher was.
However, I can tell you the names of the guys I played with and tons of stories that would never be fit for print of all the times we spent together at practice, in the locker room, on those long bus rides and everything in between without missing a detail.
That’s what your senior season is about. It’s about the memories, not the wins or losses.
I also played soccer my senior season and started on a team that won a conference championship.
But my memories of baseball and getting slaughter-ruled half the time mean just as much to me today as winning a conference title.
There is a certain finality that hits for senior athletes in all sports when the games are done and you’ve played the last time alongside friends that you’ve known your entire life.
That feeling is never easy, but nearly all athletes at least have some idea of when it’s coming.
Not this year’s crop of spring student-athletes. They were taken by surprise and everything they worked so hard for was gone in a flash.
Sadly, none of our local seniors will get to share those experiences and hold those memories.
When I wrote about the fate of spring sports in March, I didn’t like the odds that they would return.
With spring athletics now part of the history books, one has to hope that the effects of the coronavirus don’t linger into late summer and potentially affect fall sports season.
North Carolina has done its part in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19, but there are still many unknowns related to the virus that make it impossible to speculate on when sports could practically return at any level.
But right now, this time should be focused on the senior student-athletes.
I have been in touch with athletic directors at both schools and will be working with coaches to make sure and connect with all seniors.
Brevard College has also sent in some profiles of senior athletes that will be published.
It’s not much and it’s far from the final sendoff that senior athletes and their families envisioned, but hopefully it provides some level of closure to what is a sad final chapter.
It’s been extremely depressing over the past weeks. Looking at my monthly calendar, with all the yellow highlights marking events I planned to cover and knowing it was all for naught, is a constant reminder of just how bizarre today’s world is.
My greatest sentiments go out to all the spring athletes – particularly the seniors and their families.
They’ve gotten a raw deal and they can never get back what they have lost.
I’m sorry. I truly am.
The emotional and mental toll of the coronavirus seems to grow day by day. We don’t know how long this will be the reality of our lives, but it will certainly be here for a while.
Getting through each day, as best you can, might seem like a small victory, but it is still a victory.
And at a time when it feels like the losses just keep piling up, even small victories are ones to be celebrated.