COVID-19 part eight: Spring sports season cancelled

The ability to participate in sports is one that many students take advantage of, some even participating in sports throughout their entire high school experience. However, this past school year has been a unique one in regards to spring sports. With the recent spread of the COVID-19 virus, all spring sports were canceled to ensure the safety of students.
According to the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), this announcement was made official after Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered the immediate closure of all Kansas K-12 schools.
“I was very devastated because it was my first year ever playing soccer in high school and I was starting to get along with everyone as well,” senior Estrella Chavez said. “It was special because it’s exciting bonding with the team and just having fun. “
Athletes who have participated in sports for even longer periods of time have felt disappointed that their seasons were cut short as well. All spring athletes had their seasons cut short and have different feelings towards the news.
“Spring sports were an opportunity for me to train and compete, but what made them special were the relationships that I formed with people that would have been impossible otherwise,” senior track distance runner John Jantzen said. “There are a lot of people on the team who I only see during track season but I still value those relationships and my experiences with those people very highly.”
While for some students, the announcement means that they will have to wait another year to be able to compete in their spring sports, seniors never got their last opportunity to represent the high school.
“It sucks that I will never be able to have the full experience of a soccer game or team, and all the seniors didn’t get their last season in,” Chavez said. “But all we can really do is move forward and try to stay motivated and positive.”
Having the ability to participate in such team-oriented events has had a different effect on all athletes. Being involved in sports has helped Jantzen not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
“The ability to participate in sports is very important to me not only because of the relationships that I can form through participation but also because it helps center me as an individual,” Jantzen said. “I know that I have good mental discipline because I’ve done some really tough workouts, and I know that I have achieved goals through hard, consistent work over a long time.”
Even with such a disappointing announcement, athletes have had time to reflect on their previous seasons. Jantzen was able to look back and appreciate all of his past experiences with sports even if he did not rack up all of the accolades.
“I don’t have a lot of hardware to show for my participation and have never been the best at what I did but the experiences I had and the relationships I formed have been deeply important to me,” Jantzen said. “I am more than satisfied with the experiences I have had, even in the absence of this spring season.”