With the recent consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports world has been put on hold and the only game being played is the waiting game.
That’s left players without a season, wondering what would have been. The impact has been felt on many different fronts, not just the athletic world but the academic world as well.
“I never would have thought that the end of my junior year would be after spring break,” began Van Meter junior Jorja Hanselman. “It’s pretty sad to think about. These are the times you really miss everything about school.”
While the summer sports in baseball and softball still have a chance at happening, the school year, and effectively the spring sports season has come to a close. With the closure has come an abrupt end to what could have been a very entertaining spring season on multiple fronts. Various teams across various sports were searching for a state crown. While the disappointment from the canceled season stings, there is one aspect, in particular, that stings a little more than a shutdown season.
“We kind of knew that the season might not happen and that stung,” said DC-G soccer senior Jaci Versluis. “What made things harder were the successes that we had last year and the potential for us to match that if not more this year. I felt this team had the ability to make it to state again this year and it’s hard because we’ll never know now.”
Versluis and the Fillies were poised for another breakout season that would have potentially included a third straight state tournament trip. Another potential big feat now missed was Waukee girls’ track and their pursuit of a fifth straight state meet team crown. Even the potential for such a feat doesn’t happen without the work put in by great athletes such as Jessica Caraway who has been a part of several school-record relays at the state meet the last two years. Over the last three seasons, Caraway has been one of many Warrior girls to produce such a winning atmosphere and all that hard work paid off in championships, something that can’t be said for 2020.
“It’s really frustrating because as a team we really put in a lot of work during the off-season and we won’t get to showcase all of that,” said Caraway. “The last few seasons we were able to show off our hard work with a lot of success at state. We won’t be able to do that this time.”
The cultivation of a winning atmosphere is something that also comes into play here. Along with the DC-G soccer teams, the Waukee soccer teams, and track squads across the county, the ADM girls soccer team had developed a winning culture. A culture that has brought forth sixth straight conference titles for ADM and three state tournament appearances in the past four seasons. A big part of all of that was chemistry building, something that the Tigers prides themselves on and something that will help them out during this time.
“We’re trying to stay connected to the game and the moments that we’ve had in the past,” said ADM senior Josi Lonneman. “This team, we’ve been with each other since we were little and we’ve been through so much together. The chemistry is definitely one of our strongest attributes as a team and it’s something we were all looking forward to this season.”
The loss of the spring sports season has without a doubt impacted athletes of all types. That includes athletes whose number one passion might lie somewhere else. Van Meter football star Parker Fryar has his sights set on the collegiate football world but has been a member of the Van Meter boys golf team as well the past few years, something he’s always enjoyed. The cancellation of spring sports has put a damper on things but at the same time gave the soon-to-be Northwestern College star perspective.
“I’ve always liked playing the sport of golf and have just enjoyed spring sports all together,” said Fryar. “Whether I’ve played in them or not, I have friends and football teammates who have and I can tell it really hurts them. Every sport is special and you can see just how important sports in general is once it’s taken away.”
Perspective can sometimes be hard to find, especially when something like sports is taken away. Normally during a season, underclassmen look up to the seniors for how to conduct themselves on the playing surface. As Waukee girls tennis star Brooke Conover mentioned, it’s now changed to how to conduct themselves off the playing surface.
“For me I would tell the underclassmen to never take what you have for granted,” began Conover. “I’ve always thought about what my senior year would be like and it stinks not to have it. Always cherish the time you have out there on the court because you never know if something like this might take it away.”
Just like all the other spring sports teams out there, Waukee girls tennis, spearheaded by leaders like Conover, were looking to have a successful season only to watch it come to a close before it even began. It’s an unfortunate case that can’t be undone and will be talked about for years to come.