Students cope with disappointments, uncertainties
The announcement came over the intercom on March 12. Grand County High School Principal Stephen Hren said all sports and practices would be postponed for two weeks due to concerns regarding COVID-19.
The next day, according to Ron Dolphin, the School Athletics and Activities director, Utah High School Athletic Association extended that order to all sporting and non-sporting competitions, performances and team gatherings.
Two weeks turned into a month, and then a month and a half. Now, it seems likely the 2020 spring sports season has ended — along with the school year.
While everyone understands the need for such precautions, they are not happy.
“I look at my team as a family,” said Chloe Book, the only senior on the Red Devils softball team. “I know that each one of those girls cares deeply for one another. This cancellation of sports may or may not be temporary, but as a senior it takes so much out of what is supposed to be ‘the year.’ It scared me into wondering if I would be able to pick up my mitt and go play with my team again. Also, by putting sports out of practice for two weeks it takes away time that would’ve helped us improve. I know that if sports resume the team will come together and fight harder than ever to reach the end goal of state.”
There has been plenty of speculation concerning the 2020 spring sports season and what will happen to the students, especially seniors, who don’t get to finish out their last season.
“We are in uncharted waters like never before for many generations of people,” said Dolphin. “Since the establishment of eligibility rules by the UHSAA, there has not been a situation like we face today and I cannot speak for the UHSAA Board of Trustees and what they may or may not do. Under current rules there will not be a season added for this one if completely lost … Even if a student were to miss a season due to injury or traumatic event, the clock was and is running. Seniors who graduate or don’t graduate (super senior) have no eligibility left for participation in sports or activities.”
Many students have mixed feelings about the situation. “Not being out on the field everyday is super hard,” said Jaci Shumway. “We were getting off the bus to play a game in St. George when we found out that our season would have to be put on hold. For some, hearing that almost broke us. We did not want that to be the last time we put our jerseys on this year. Although, we do understand this break is necessary, it is hard to have to stop right as we were just getting going, and playing so well.” Shumway is a star shortstop in Region 3.
Cutting the season short has not only affected students and players. Grand County High School’s yearbook staff, among others, had some difficulties. “Finishing the yearbook was challenging for the staff. It was tough asking spring sports players for photos and quotes when they were so disappointed that games and practices were canceled. We had to improvise on pages where events were canceled, such as the Europe trip. Despite the difficulties, we think the yearbook turned out great and will remind students of all the good times we had this school year,” said teacher Catherine Moore.
When faced with this challenge, many students are placated by the thought of continuing next year, but what does this mean for the seniors of 2020? “I don’t have a crystal ball to foresee the future and many athletic [or] activity leaders are not willing to say much, fearing backlash. It’s quiet on the hill of leadership but for me I have faith and belief that athletics and activities will return in some limited form of competition,” said Dolphin.
“I was really looking forward to my senior track season, I had some mixed feelings about it being canceled,” said Jessica Anderson. “Yes, I don’t have to stress about it anymore but I’m very sad I’m missing out on the last chance I had to run for Grand County and the great experience that went along with it.”
“This struggle is a challenge to the status quo that many have become accustomed to. It’s real and people are responding both positively and adversely to the well-being of each other,” said Dolphin. “The great opportunity we all have, is we do choose our own attitude. We do. Not anyone else. If we all choose to do our part with a positive attitude for our neighbor and the greater good while protecting the health and safety of our family we can do a lot to weaken the spread of this virus resulting in a quicker return to our norms.”
Crane is a senior at Grand County High School. She’s serving a paid internship at The Times-Independent.