Senior seasons cut short

Luke Wienecke, Staff Writer

 

Amid a pandemic that has forced cancellations and closures across the country and the world, one major facet of American life has fallen by the wayside: sports. 

Gone are the nightly NBA games, the stir of the beginning of baseball, and the excitement of The Masters approaching. ESPN and channels like it are stuck with nothing to air but old games. But at a more local level, gone is a fixture of school life so integral that it is just about as common as the school day itself: practice. In a sweeping March 26 decision made by the OSSAA board, all spring sports were cancelled, indefinitely, leaving many students and athletes alike, wondering where their pastime has gone.         

With spring sports disappearing this year, so too does the chance for seniors to chase success in their last year. Senior Brooks Coats, golf team captain, saw his team’s hopes vanish as the decision came down.

“This year we were definitely going to be a top 5 team in the state,” Coats said. “Winning it all would have been difficult, but it was a possibility.”

Coats first heard the news March 25 when his friends began to post on social media about the end of their baseball careers. However, golf is far from the only sport that had its shot at a title dashed. Girls soccer was also poised for a state run. 

“Everyone said it was going to be us and Bishop Kelley in the state championship, so that would have been super fun,” junior goalie Madeline Neff said. “The whole team is very sad because we all wanted to finish this season through and win state together.”

“Everyone said it was going to be us and Bishop Kelley in the state championship, so that would have been super fun. The whole team is very sad because we all wanted to finish this season through and win state together.””

— Madeline Neff

While it is obvious that delays had to be made in the Oklahoma sports world, a key distinction arises between what is happening here in high school versus what is happening in nationwide sports. The NBA and the MLB suspended their seasons, the Masters were postponed, and NASCAR is looking to reschedule its events to later dates. But for Oklahoma high school sports, the events were not suspended, postponed, or rescheduled, they were cancelled, leaving some students to question this decision.

“I think they made the decision too early,” Coats said. “It is still more than 6 weeks until the state (golf) tournament, and I don’t see any problem with trying to push it back instead of canceling it. Yes, this is a scary time, but golf does not put anyone at risk for the virus.” 

For the sporting level in between, however, things may look even more grim. All across the country, collegiate spring sports programs have been leveled, with no rescheduling in the works. This has left thousands of college athletes with the question of their own eligibility and how it will be affected, all while they are being temporarily booted off their own campuses.

College recruiting programs have also taken a hit. This will leave high school juniors and seniors as well as the college athletic programs relatively blind in regard to recruiting for this year and next.

“Junior year is the most important year for track and spring sports in general because by spring of senior year, you’re already in or out of the college you want to be recruited for,” junior Luke Chansolme said. “Fortunately, for me and other long distance runners who want to get recruited, we have cross country season, but losing track season is a blow to our recruiting chances.”   

While this global health crisis takes important precedence over sports, the cancellations, postponements and suspensions in the sports world will no doubt have its fair share of consequences for all involved.