By: Jake Gray
I’ve struggled to really put this all into words.
It seems like everywhere you look it’s just more news outlets describing how the coronavirus outbreak has affected society. Every article just feels like a rehashing of the same points. It’s unprecedented, shocking, and we weren’t prepared. And we’re all scared and everybody needs more tests and it’s an endless fire hose spray of media just announcing the COVID-19 brand apocalypse.
What really hurt me the most was when we lost sports. I don’t really know exactly how it all shook out from there, but it all happened so suddenly. The NBA had a game canceled, and then the next games after that suspended. Then, it came out the players were being tested. Pretty soon the whole league was shut down. The different NCAA tournaments came next before eventually March Madness was done. I don’t know how it went from there, but I feel like I looked up and it was all gone.
The one thing I held out hope for was the PIAA girls’ basketball playoffs. I’d been following the Pennsbury team all season. They put together an amazing run. It was historical for Pennsbury, as I truly couldn’t tell you the last time we’ve had a team go this far. Almost every single game this season (including all of the playoffs), I’d been in attendance. Whether I was working the camera for a WBCB livestream, or taking down notes for an article, or just going as a fan, I loved following the Falcons as they blazed a trail through school, league, district, and maybe even state history.
The day before the next round in the PIAA tournament, I learned it’d been postponed.
I know that I’m never going to understand how crushing it must be for all of the high school athletes, including this team I’d been lucky enough to cover, to have such a sudden and inexplicable end to your season.
Yes, I know, a suspension of a season isn’t the same as a cancellation. “Once this all calms down, everyone will get to play! It’s all going to work out just fine.” you might think.
But we don’t know when it will all come back, when it will all calm down. No one does.
Besides, it’s not even a matter of when. The season’s already thrown off. Momentum is gone. Yes, we can try to make up for it, but a season isn’t something you can just get back. It’s a moment, a singular flash in time. These athletes, in addition to preparing themselves for another year of school, are committing their time and their bodies all for the love of their sport. A season isn’t something you start and stop at will. Far too much goes into it for that.
Now, this isn’t to say I disagree with social distancing, or the postponement/cancellation of large events, or any of the actions being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. I agree we all have a responsibility to put our lives on hold as best we can and slow down the spread of this disease. But I feel we need more sympathy for the athletes who might be losing on so much.
Working towards one goal for months on end. Honing in on your craft, strengthening your connection with your teammates. Studying and training and fighting hard just to make it to where you are now. All of that energy, and it feels lost.
I guess what I’m trying to say is my deepest condolences go out to everyone involved in high school athletics. Not even just the athletes. The managers, the coaches, the trainers, the fans, everyone. Just know you can be heard. Voice how you feel.
Just because we understand the necessity of these measures doesn’t mean we are not entitled to frustrations in dealing with them. Feel every emotion going through you. You can be angry and sad and a mix of everything. Let it be heard. Support your fellow athletes and fans. We’re all going to get through this together.
It sucks. It really sucks. I don’t think any of us realized how much sports held us together until we didn’t have them anymore. In place of them, let’s try to be there for each other.