Cougar ath­letes hop­ing for chance to com­pete this fall

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - SPORTS -

last of­fi­cial game played with my team­mates grad­u­at­ing the fol­low­ing year — our year. I would have spent ev­ery sec­ond of those six hours hug­ging the girls who, my en­tire life, taught me how to love and suc­ceed in the game of soft­ball.

And now, it isn’t even safe to hug peo­ple in 2020.

On April 9 of this year, our team, an­tic­i­pat­ing an­other shot at a state ti­tle, was in­formed that we wouldn’t even get the chance due to COVID-19. Now, hear­ing “all spring sports are can­celed” is my worst life ex­pe­ri­ence. Al­though I still have next soft­ball sea­son, it will never be the same with­out Aleah Kost, Kait­lynn Peters, Marissa Triv­el­piece, and Tiana Treon as my team­mates.

It’s Au­gust now, and I am go­ing into my se­nior year with my last soc­cer sea­son in jeop­ardy. With the virus still spread­ing, some have pitched the idea of mov­ing fall sports to the spring sea­son. This would force me to choose be­tween soc­cer and soft­ball. As I am a goal­keeper and a pitcher, ask­ing me to make that de­ci­sion is ask­ing me which team I want to leave stranded. That is quite some pres­sure for a 17-year old with an equal love for both sports.

If fall sports pro­ceed as (al­most) nor­mal, fans may not be al­lowed to at­tend. This means that my friends and fam­ily would never get to see me play soc­cer one last time, and that I would never get to hear the boys’ soc­cer team cheer for us again; my heart is heavy with the thought of that, but it’s bet­ter than never play­ing soc­cer again my­self.

It is un­clear how fall sports will pan out, and this un­cer­tainty only adds to the stress­ful start of my se­nior year. Sports usu­ally re­lieve my anx­i­eties, but now they are at the cen­ter of them. Hope­fully, a safe way to com­pete in the fall is ac­com­plished. I just want to save one last shot and sing one last song with my girls.

How­ever, if I don’t get these op­por­tu­ni­ties, I am be­yond thank­ful that I had them in the past. My long­stand­ing team­mates have shaped me into the per­son that I am to­day, and I hope I have re­turned the same smiles they have given to me all of these years.

For me, along with many other run­ners across our league and on my team, cross coun­try is more than just miles on top of miles. My five years of run­ning have made me the per­son that I am to­day. I’ve found new friends, not only from my team, that have pushed me to reach new lev­els in my ath­letic ca­reer.

To me, be­ing able to have these peo­ple to sup­port me has shown me that with the right peo­ple in my life, I can achieve things I never would have imag­ined to be pos­si­ble.

With­out a se­nior sea­son, I feel like I will never be able to show my true po­ten­tial as an ath­lete or a team leader at the high school level. Whether it was be­ing with my team on long runs, lead­ing stretches or just long bus rides to in­vi­ta­tion­als, be­ing able to bond with my team­mates and cre­ate strong friend­ships is truly what made all of the painful runs and work­outs worth it.

Miss­ing out on op­por­tu­ni­ties like these, if the sea­son is can­celed, would be very dis­ap­point­ing.

Af­ter be­ing in­volved with high school fall sports for the past three years, I never would have thought there would be a chance of my last sea­son be­ing can­celed.

Right now I am grateful that the PIAA is do­ing ev­ery­thing they could to con­tinue fall sports this year, al­though it will not be a sea­son like ev­ery other year. Would I pre­fer it hap­pen­ing this way? Ab­so­lutely not, but it’s so much bet­ter than it not hap­pen­ing at all.

In the end, I hope that all of the other se­nior fall ath­letes, in­clud­ing my­self, will be able to have a fun, yet safe sea­son.

Sports are im­por­tant for so many rea­sons and one of those rea­sons is col­lege.

Due to COVID, I’ve lost my ju­nior year of lacrosse and I face los­ing my se­nior year of field hockey sea­son. This time is so im­por­tant for col­leges to re­cruit play­ers, and not be­ing able to play makes that 10 times harder.

Ever since my fresh­man year, I made a goal to earn a varsity let­ter all four years in both field hockey and lacrosse. Luck­ily, I was able to let­ter last sea­son in lacrosse, but with­out a field hockey sea­son that goal will soon be crushed.

Sports not only have an ef­fect on you phys­i­cally, but also men­tally. A lot of kids use sports as an es­cape and a way to get out and make friends.

My se­nior year of field hockey is so im­por­tant to me be­cause it will be the last time I’ll be play­ing with the girls I have been play­ing with since we were in sev­enth grade. With­out a sea­son I will never get those last­ing mem­o­ries with my team and my coaches.

I am truly op­ti­mistic about the up­com­ing 2020 sea­son. We have lots of ta­lent back in both the skilled and line po­si­tions. I feel that we as play­ers, head coach Den­nis Buch­man and our other coaches, ath­letic train­ers, along with other staff mem­bers have done our ab­so­lute best to avoid con­tract­ing COVID-19.

These are un­prece­dented times in the state and in our coun­try, but we are do­ing our best to make it nor­mal. There’s noth­ing we can do as play­ers or coaches other than to stay pos­i­tive and hope for the best. I just can’t imag­ine not hav­ing a se­nior sea­son.

The friend­ships I have made through­out the years will last a life­time. I would con­sider all of my coaches and team­mates my fam­ily. Al­though we can­not look at the neg­a­tive as­pects of what is go­ing on in the world, we have to look at the pos­i­tives. I fully trust the PIAA and other com­mit­tees to make the best de­ci­sion en­sur­ing we are safe through­out the sea­son.

Foot­ball touches the heart of many, not just the team and coaches. I re­ally can­not imag­ine our se­nior year with­out the game of foot­ball.

Many ath­letes in the area, in­clud­ing my­self, have been look­ing for­ward to this sea­son of fall sports as a way to es­cape from this bizarre re­al­ity we are cur­rently fac­ing.

My team­mates and I were greatly dis­ap­pointed when we heard the gov­er­nor’s rec­om­men­da­tion to post­pone fall sports un­til Jan. 1. We were look­ing for­ward to grow­ing our team as we have for the past three years. We have gone from a bot­tom-of-the-bar­rel team to a top league con­tender in two years, and we wish to con­tinue that suc­cess.

His rec­om­men­da­tion was a stab in the back to all of the stu­dent-ath­letes who were pre­par­ing to get back to a some­what nor­mal sched­ule in the fol­low­ing months. Many up­per­class­men have had their plans to play at the col­le­giate level side­tracked. With the re­lease of Gov­er­nor Wolf’s sug­ges­tion, are los­ing hope for their se­nior sea­son.

We hope that PIAA can make the best de­ci­sion for stu­dent-ath­letes, while also hold­ing safety to the high­est stan­dard.

The COVID- 19 pan­demic has af­fected ev­ery per­son in the United States dif­fer­ently. Those who suf­fered from the ill­ness and watched loved ones fight their bat­tle have every­one’s prayers and thoughts of love. The Class of 2020 grad­u­ated with no fi­nal­ity and never was graced with the op­por­tu­nity to say good­bye prop­erly to the home­town and school they had known and loved for the past four years. But, the grad­u­ates of 2020 whom I have had the plea­sure of know­ing will surely make the most of the next phase of their lives.

As a mem­ber of the grad­u­at­ing Class of 2021, I am pray­ing to have some sense of nor­malcy dur­ing my se­nior year. Golf has al­ways been my out­let to es­cape from the pres­sures of school and the in­evitable stress of the year of col­lege ap­pli­ca­tions and stan­dard­ized tests to come.

I thor­oughly un­der­stand the con­cerns the PIAA and Gov­er­nor Wolf have in let­ting fall sports com­mence, but as a se­nior who has been given the honor of be­ing the co-cap­tain of the Lady Cougars golf team this year, it is heart­break­ing to think I will not be able to have a year to show my abil­ity to lead a team which has given me a fam­ily and end­less mem­o­ries for the last four years.

I am a four-year starter and varsity let­ter­man of the girls’ golf team and my score counted to­ward our teams’ to­tal at the PIAA state cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment the last two years.

Per­son­ally, last sea­son was frus­trat­ing for me. I lost the District 2 cham­pi­onship in a play­off to my own team­mate and missed qual­i­fy­ing for the in­di­vid­ual state cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment by three strokes. This sea­son is my op­por­tu­nity to have one fi­nal mem­ory, be­cause I am not plan­ning on play­ing com­pet­i­tively in col­lege.

In ad­di­tion, I have met my best friends through golf. The ca­ma­raderie and love which I have been granted will stay rooted in my heart for the rest of my life. I feel like our jour­ney is not com­plete. Just once more I would love to look across the aisle of the bus to see my team­mates don­ning the scar­let and sil­ver of Ha­zle­ton Area High School and share one more piece of pizza while sit­ting side by side, laugh­ing.

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