This is the question everyone has to be weighing right now. Coaches, parents, players, but more importantly, seniors. What if I played my last game and that was it?
At the moment, there’s no definitive answer. There’s truly nothing anyone can say to bring any sort of relief or assurance that there will be more games. On the one hand, it’s still possible. The GHSA has just extended its suspension of high school sports play through April 24. At that point, or prior, a decision could be made to either re-open play (and a plan would be needed) or shut it down for the rest of the year. On the other hand, it has begun looking bleak, as all colleges have canceled their remaining seasons, and high schools in other states are finally following suit.
In talking to some parents, coaches, and players, some of who will remain anonymous, the collective feeling might be “it is what it is.” There’s nothing we can control about this outside of our own actions in regard to COVID-19, which stands alone in stopping the world in a way many of us have never seen in our lifetime.
Take a note from some players who have seen their career or season end in injury, and the feeling is not much different. The end of a high school player’s career isn’t guaranteed to end on their own terms. The biggest thing is to have no regret. If all these players sitting in limbo played their hearts out in their last completed game/match, then they can take solace in that. It’s not much of a compensation prize, but “it is what it is.”
Will the GHSA allow programs to go straight from quarantine to again drawing crowds of people to games across the state? No one really knows that answer. Will region standings hold true, and take a swift path to the playoffs? There are countless options on the table. It’s important to remember, though, that this is completely unprecedented. All we can do is be patient and let it play out, and when it’s finally time to return (whether this year or next) you can bet high school sports will have more spirit than ever before.
Until then, let’s hear from some local seniors who shared their feelings on what they’re going through.
Vada Bowden – Banks County Soccer
I wake up every morning and think… what if…What if today’s practice would’ve be my best practice. What if I could’ve learned how to do that new move I’ve been practicing all season. What if I could’ve set new records. What if I could’ve helped my teammates anyway I could, on and off the field. What if I would’ve pushed myself harder each practice. What if I didn’t miss that shot on goal. What if I saved a goal from going in. What if I took my team to state. What if I could’ve finished my last soccer season. What if I had senior night. What if this never happened…I’d be sweating it out under the lights against a team fighting for the same thing as me… a win. What if I could have one more day…one more practice… one more game. I wish I could turn these “what if’s” into reality. I wish I had the opportunity to finish my senior soccer season at BCHS with my team. All I can think about is the good times- the jam sessions we had in the locker room, the crazy bus rides we went on, the games we won and the games we lost, all the lessons we learned and how we grew as a team, all the memories I have with my team, I hold onto. Seniors, we have so much more to give. I wish every senior luck during this tough time, keep your heads up. I know everyone in the world is going through it and I can not control the school and sports being canceled so I’m trying not to stress. It’s upsetting but it is what it is.
Maggie Davidson – White County Track & Field
For me this time has been difficult. Like most seniors we were all looking forward to this last semester of high school and playing the sport we love because I know we’ve all worked hard for that for the past 4 years. For me personally I was looking forward to my senior night, hosting region on our home track, new PRs (and I had already come really close to that), my one last shot to get faster times so I could run in college, beating a BT or Marist girl so I could run at sectionals/state, and the list goes on. So this time has definitely not been one taken easily for me. It’s been hard knowing that this could be it for me but God’s timing is perfect and He works all things for His good so with these unprecedented times we’ll just have to trust Him and what He has in store. So keep on practicing; don’t just quit because of the scare of not getting to play anymore. Keep on playing the sport you love as if nothing has changed and hopefully very soon we’ll be able to walk out on the field at senior night and get recognized for all the hard work we’ve put in over our high school career and break those records and become a state champ and show everyone else that even when we don’t know what will happen and it looks as though we’ve lost we are still strong and determined and won’t give up.
Brycen Jewell – Jefferson Baseball
Currently just taking it one day at a time and praying for the best. It’s out of my control now. Just hoping to get back out there and finish what I’ve worked towards my whole life! Everything happens for a reason. This is just a time to take a step back and acknowledge just how lucky we are to play the sports we love.
Bella Ramey – White County Soccer
As a senior, this is really devastating because I have not even had a chance to play my senior yet due to my third ACL tear. I have been putting in a lot of work to be able to recover and play at the end of the season, but to hear that I might not even have that chance is heart breaking.
Jacob Kinsey – Towns County Baseball
I just want to say more than anything I’m going to miss my teammates which ended up more like family to me. Baseball was my sport and I’m disappointed that my fourth year playing it got canceled and I wish the good season we were having could have ended a different way.
Valerie Ladue – Jefferson Soccer
I have been waiting for my senior senior of soccer since my freshman year. Knowing I won’t be pursuing this sport in college, I couldn’t wait to celebrate the last 12 years of playing soccer with one final season. It’s heartbreaking that I may never get to step on the field with my best friends. I can’t stress enough to every single athlete out there to truly play every game like it’s your last because you might not get to have a say in it, like we might not have a say in our season right now.
Riley Norton – White County Baseball
What if? A question that I have been asking myself a lot here lately. What If tonight’s game was the best game that I have played? What if it was a chance for me to had one more home run to my name? I have been playing this game since I was five, and I now haven’t had a chance to finish what I started. This is a very difficult time and I am hoping and praying for the best!!
Andrew Rabern – Habersham Central Tennis
I’ve been playing varsity tennis since my freshman year. This year’s team is the best we’ve had in my four years. Our top 5 guys consist of 4 seniors, and we all really challenge and push each other to get better. Last year we gave our coach his first winning season of his career and this year we’re better with our record thus far being 5-1. It’s a hard pill to swallow to say that our season is probably over, especially considering the success we were having. This whole pandemic is just so strange, it hasn’t really sunk in for me that this is reality. It feels like I’m dreaming and any minute I’m going to wake up and life will go back to normal.
Kobi Robbins – Union County Soccer
Senior soccer season is a blur, a goal that is unfinished, and a surreal memory that will forever around. It’s tough. Never knew something could end the way it did. I had so many goals for this season both personally and for the team. We started off hot and then ended with a thrashing from Putnam. They were a great team but I had a talk with my coaches after and I had a lineup that we could beat that team with. We knew if we played again it would be in the state championship. With last years run I knew in my head I could bring my team to where we were last year no doubt. Then it ends like this..I didn’t know it could’ve been my last game. It never crossed my mind. As days turn into weeks I soon realize that it was my last high school game. A season that I saw as redemption from last year. It was the year I could show everybody what I had. I question why this happens but I believe God did this all for a reason and it’s going to be better not only me but the our whole society.
Zoe Sanchez – Union County Track & Field
Honestly all I want to say is that I was really hoping to walk of of Union County with five State Titles. I don’t want to sound greedy, but it was a goal I was really working hard for, and something I thought I could have achieved. Union also had the largest team its had since our program was established; I was excited to see how many we could take past regionals. God really does have a plan for all this, and right now I know its so much bigger than myself and my track season. His timing isn’t our timing and his ways aren’t our ways so I’m hoping this helps reduce the risk of any more deaths. Trying to stay positive and faithful during this CHAOS but it really is and I know he’s gonna move even if it’s in a way that I wouldn’t necessarily like.