COVID-19 postpones school sports, disappointing athletes

COVID-19 not only canceling professional sports, but high school sports too, including state tournaments and championships

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Katy Pickens

Spring sports have been cancelled indefinitely, though teams hold on to the hope that they may resume.

COVID-19 has led to a wave of  school shutdowns, not only keeping students out of the classroom, but off the fields and courts as well. 

Even though IHSA has a target date of resuming in May, the spread of the virus throughout the country only seems to have accelerated since this statement was released. New Trier announced on Mar. 13 that all sporting events are postponed until further notice. 

The clear message out of all this is uncertainty for athletes is that the thought of not playing the sport they love for an entire season is devastating. 

After junior Charlie Acri’s hockey season was cut short, he was disappointed about losing  the chance to compete in this year’s state championship, and added that this experience must be particularly hard on seniors, who might not get to step on the field again in high school. For those seniors not playing at the collegiate level, their last game ever may be behind them.

“I feel for our seniors who couldn’t play out their last few games, and I feel we were so close to winning which is so upsetting” said Acri.

New Trier Green’s state championship hopes were cut off at the semifinals, and many other sports like boys tennis, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, and baseball weren’t even able to play their first game. 

 Junior Jenna Birdsell, said not being able to play varsity girls soccer this season “would be heartbreaking.”

“We were just getting ready for an amazing season. The magic of NTGS is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and it is an honor to be a part of,” she said.

It’s clear that sports are bigger than just a game, for some people it’s a big part of their identity. 

I feel for our seniors who couldn’t play out their last few games, and I feel we were so close to winning which is so upsetting”

— Charlie Acri

“Playing hockey is one of the best things that I do in my life and it’s one of the things that I care about most. I would consider hockey a top priority in my life,” said Acri.

COVID-19 also affects recruiting high school athletes. Most athletes are recruited in their sophomore and junior seasons, so not having a season will be a loss for those athletes.

“Seniors already have a place to play, but it’s hard for the sophomores and juniors who tried to make a push to showcase their skills,” said Varsity Baseball Coach Michael  Napoleon.

The concept of “Redshirting” athletes, meaning they’d get an extra year of eligibility has been by student athletes across the country, but it might just be that for juniors who thought the spring season was a chance to get recruited by schools.

In addition to student athletes, coaches are also disappointed by the postponement.

“As hard as this team has worked in the off-season, thanks to the leadership of our seniors, it would be a shame if [the season] didn’t happen,” said Napoleon 

With the announcement that New Trier and all Illinois schools will be out of school until at least mid April there is an increased uncertainty as to whether the season will resume. 

According to IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson, there may be hope for an extended spring season.

We are considering an extension of the spring sports season limitation to provide more participation opportunities for students. This may include movement of the post-season timelines and State Series,” he wrote in a Twitter message on Mar. 25.

As athletes have poured their valuable time along with years of effort into their sports, many continue to hope their season will  resume.