PLYMOUTH — Yesterday the IHSAA made what was likely an inevitable announcement that all high school-sanctioned sports would not be played this season.
The association was one of the last to make the announcement, obviously clinging to the hope that somehow Indiana athletes would be allowed to compete, many of the senior athletes for the final time in their careers.
“I knew it was bad when this whole thing started,” said LaVille AD Will Hostrawser. “It had a different feel to me. There were (are) so many unknowns. It’s bigger than sports.”
“It is just a hard pill to swallow for all of us. Normal has been taken away. In fact, it’s being redefined right before our eyes,” he said. “Some may get upset about losing the opportunity to play a spring sports season (and rightfully so), however, this is far bigger than sports.”
“As an athletic director, you want to fix problems that will hopefully benefit your athletes and coaches,” said Bremen AD Troy Holmes. “This seems to be a helpless situation but I respect the decision made by the governor and IHSAA.”
“Unfortunately we kind of expected it with the writing on the wall of some college and professional sports canceling,” said Plymouth AD Michael Delp. “All of that led you to believe that this was another domino that would fall.”
Many around the state have had similar feelings about the loss of the spring sports season but Argos AD Jon Alcorn put the whole thing into a solid perspective.
“Normally, such an announcement to cancel school and the spring sports season would be a headline,” he said, “Unfortunately, it’s only a footnote in the news.”
The fact that many felt the canceling of spring sports was inevitable it doesn’t negate the impact that the announcement had on those affected.
“It is especially disappointing when you know first hand all the time and effort that has been invested in the summers and offseason leading up to spring sports,” said Holmes. “You feel awful for the seniors who don’t get their last season. We were anticipating some highly successful teams.”
“It is certainly a disappointment for the spring sport players,” said Alcorn. “I have coaches who have put in many days over the fall and winter to get ready for their season.”
“There is only one word to describe it and that’s ‘horrible’,” said Delp. “I say that on the premise that I completely understand why we are doing what we are doing and agree with it. There are so many moments of growth and joy and memories that are created in an athletic season. To have that taken away is something that’s really tough to process right now.”
“Kids that have sacrificed and waited for this season and not to compete at all or even just get a portion of it is horrible,” he said.
Delp reflected on what a lost senior season for him in his playing days at PHS would have meant.
“Having that senior season was a big part of my identity in high school and who I became,” he said. “What I do now as my occupation is involved a great part in paying that forward and what was poured into me and the opportunities that I got to have. Having a moment like that taken away would have been extremely difficult for me in that first little bit. Even understanding the why of why it’s necessary, it would still be a loss.”
Holmes also felt for the fans of the spring sports, himself among them.
“After a long winter, I am going to miss our teams and the Bremen community enjoying the outdoors together at sporting events,” he said.
However, the AD’s expect that the current crop of senior spring athletes will rise to the occasion.
“We talk about adversity and overcoming it, and working through it, life lessons,” said Delp. “The tough part about this is there isn’t any coming back from it. It’s not like a tough loss or an injury. It’s like going through the last loss of the season without having the chance to go through any of it. I think our kids will get it. We want to keep it in perspective. Those that are fighting a battle for their lives or a loved one’s life, we can struggle with the loss of an athletic season sacrificing something like that if we are saving a persons life by helping the war on this it’s a sacrifice we can make at this time even though you do feel for those who are giving it up.”
“Our athletes are resilient when facing adversity and I have no doubt that this will only make them stronger,” said Alcorn. “All of these things are beyond what we could’ve imagined. I think that to some degree, you just accept it, and determine to do your part. In many ways, it’s like we are now all on a team as a community and so we will look to work together on that team, for a greater purpose.”
“This demonstrates the need to put others before yourselves, the need to stay fit and healthy, the need to connect with those whom you care for and most importantly the need to be there for your family,” said Hostrawser. “This situation will test us all in ways in which we have not been tested before. As coaches, we never stop coaching – this situation is no different.”