The Spring Season may be over for these senior athletes, but their spirits are still high.
As this year’s spring flora started to bloom, the school sports season halted.Thursday, March
26 became the last day for student-athletes to practice for their school’s sports teams.
For seniors, it would be their last day ever to practice with their team. The first-match
butterflies, the practice drills, and the precious little moments spent with peers off the field
will not happen again for them.
But this article represents more than sadness. It is a collection of voices from senior athletes around schools in the Philadelphia School District. It hopefully rekindles the spirits of those graduating athletes and the rest of the class of 2020.
I asked these seniors what their sport means to them.
Sam Coffin, a player for GAMP’s baseball team, says that baseball strengthened his courage to get back on the plate when his goals did not swing the way he hoped.
“I failed a lot playing it. But the failures just made the successes so much more gratifying. It’s a lot like life. You’re gonna fail and screw up a lot, but those times just make the times you succeed very worthwhile”, Coffin shares.
Annamarie Collins, co-captain of the Masterman Girls’ Ultimate frisbee team, says that she was not used to being a leader when starting high school. That is until ultimate called her name.
“In so many ways, I was put in situations I wasn’t used to, from having to tell other people what to do, to making quick decisions under pressure. Ultimate helped me become a leader, and learn to care for a group of people, to help them improve and try to instill a love of something in them”, Collins says.
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Her fellow teammate, Sofia Cohen, adds how the sport helped her become more outgoing. She also says how she is going to miss the closeness of the team the most.
“I get really talkative when I’m tired so playing sports always brings out that side of me and it has led to some amazing experiences and friendships that I wouldn't be the same without”, Cohen says.
Sports gave these seniors a community and life truths that strengthened their character. With the end of their sports career, they share their wisdom with us and their teammates.
Jay Zhao, a member of Central High School’s cross-country and track team, reminds his team of the short time they have in high school to run alongside each other.
Jay says to “cherish the time they'll have being able to run with their teammates for track or cross country or whatever because time can fly and before they know it they'll be graduating like me”. He encourages them that “[W]hether they want to hit a new PR(hit a personal record) or something else, definitely just go for it because the time you have in high school is so limited”.
Sam candidly says how much his team means to him and his gratitude to his teammates.
“I’d like my team to know that I’m going to miss them a lot next year and I wish them nothing but the best going forward. To my senior teammates, I really wish it didn’t end like this but thank you for being great players and people these last 4 years”, Coffin states.
Annamarie wants her teammates to know their worth. The practice and the commitment to ultimate frisbee are worth it because of the people.
“I want to tell them that they have so much potential”, Annamarie admits. To the returning Ultimate frisbee players, she says “You will have four years of fantastic memories, and be covered in mud, and get sore, and eat way too many animal crackers, and score points and yell with more joy than you knew you could”.
Sofia leaves us with inspiring words that transcend the space that the world is in right now.
“I know that all last season we talked about how 2020 was going to be our year and that working hard in 2019 would lead to great things in 2020. Although we won’t have the opportunity to put all of that effort into this season, we can still remember all of the amazing things we accomplished in 2019 and use that to fuel 2021 instead. Think about what could have been and instead of feeling sad or bitter, try and turn those feelings into drive. Keep running, keep throwing, but most of all, remember why you love this game. The rest of the seniors and I may not be there to see what you do in the coming years but we know you’re capable of all of it and more. Masterman Ultimate is incredibly resourceful. Don't give up”, Cohen concludes.