Many lasts, but hit with a huge first

All seniors experience many lasts. There’s the last home football game, the last Homecoming dance, the last first day of school, the last Prom. This year, though, the senior class got hit with a big and extremely unique first. Kaneland often feels like it’s isolated, situated between cornfields in each direction. But a pandemic doesn’t make exceptions. And just like that, our last few months of high school have changed dramatically. Young athletes cannot wait for their senior year. They can’t wait to lace up their shoes, take charge of their teams, step on their home field and experience their own Senior Night. All of that is up in the air now.
Now, at Kaneland High School and so many more schools around it, it’s sinking in to many student-athletes that the seasons they had been looking forward to will not play out like they had imagined. Spring Break trips for softball to Myrtle Beach and baseball to Hilton Head have been cancelled. Spring athletes cannot practice with their coaches. Captains or seniors are having to plan times with their teammates to practice off school grounds. This is not how an athlete’s senior season was supposed to be.
Obviously, student-athletes understand the extreme measures that need to be taken when dealing with a global emergency like a pandemic, and we feel for everyone else who is being affected by this terrible sickness. What people might not understand is that the coronavirus is affecting many people, such as our athletes. Many seniors have been playing their sport since they could learn to walk, and many of them spend a lot of time thinking about their senior season. Getting that taken away from them is heartbreaking.
When school gets back in session, it’ll be different for those seniors. Their first game will not be the same. Their season was cut short because of a horrible virus that they had no control over. If the coronavirus does not slow down and continues to spread, it is even possible that many seniors will not get to experience any “lasts.” It’s not out of the realm of possibility that senior athletes might not experience their Senior Night. They might not experience their last conference or regional game. Instead, they’ll be left with confusion as to why something so impactful and so catastrophic had to happen during their senior year. That’s a question we’ll probably never know the answer to, and we realize that some people have it so much worse than us.
Along with feeling for all the people with this horrific virus, I also feel for the senior athletes who are currently left on the sidelines, wondering if and when they’ll have their final chance.