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Trying to find the words

This took a while to write.

And anyone who knows me knows I can usually knock out a story pretty quickly and this took several hours. But as I looked at the calendar full of games that wouldn’t be played, and thought about the seniors who wouldn’t get their final season, the words just wouldn’t come.

How could they?

In an instant, it was gone. The games, the seniors, the playoffs, the possibilities.

Just . . . gone.

And the words wouldn’t come because, what words are there? What can any of us say to those kids that will be of comfort in the moment?

The best, really, any of us can say right now is, I’m sorry.

Spring is supposed to be the season of promise and rebirth. In 2020 it’s been anything but.

I’m sitting here trying to write a column expressing the sorrow and disappointment felt about the the cancellation of the spring season. All I can think about is I was supposed to be at Eisenhower covering the county clash between the Knights and Youngsville Eagles track teams. And it makes my heart ache all the more.

I’m sure there are some valuable life lessons to be learned here about appreciating things in the moment, not taking for granted, etc. It’s just really hard to make any of them sound worthwhile right now.

I certainly hope all the underclassmen baseball, softball and tennis players and track and field athletes understand now just how quickly life can change. Certainly, you’ll get it more than most future generations. With that in mind, I encourage you to chase your dreams even more fiercely than you have been. Be ready for opportunity when it presents itself because you never now how long you’ll have to grab it.

And to the seniors . . .

Outside of you and your families, I don’t think anyone was looking forward to seeing what you would do this season more than Andy and me. The excitement when we talked about what we believed you would achieve was palpable. To say we’re disappointed is an understatement. And I’m sure it doesn’t come close to what you’re feeling right now.

I know what it was like to go into the final game. Even when I knew it was coming while on the bus ride to Bradford, I still don’t think I was fully prepared. We went into the locker room and put on our pads and helmets. Our coach gave not the traditional pregame speech, but one meant to convey the finality of what was coming. Still, it wasn’t until after pregame warmups when the band struck up the first notes of the Star-Spangled Banner, that it all sunk in. This is the last one. The last time I’ll wear this uniform, the last time I’ll take the field with my teammates, my brothers. To this day, there are times when I hear the national anthem that all those emotions come flooding back.

I’m heartbroken you won’t get the chance to have that moment. You played your final games as Dragons, Eagles, Knights and Wolverines and you didn’t know it. You didn’t know it was time to take that extra second and let everything sink in. That’s a hard thing to live with.

I also know that you’ll find a way to get past it. I’ve seen the strength, the drive and the desire from this group of seniors. For three years I’ve watched you push and push to get better, to be more than you thought you could. This will just be the latest challenge that you’ll overcome. A small part of this hurt will likely stay with you for a long time. But I have no doubt you’ll use it to fuel the fire inside.

I know I said, “I’m sorry,” might be the only thing we can say to you in this moment. But I think there’s one more thing we can say, and know that it comes from deep in our hearts.

Thank you.

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