Still Hope for Spring

Officials will meet Monday to discuss season

As the COVID-19 health crisis continues to evolve, high school administrators, coaches and athletes are holding onto a sliver of hope that a part of their spring might be saved, while at the same time trying to brace for the worst.

Section 1 athletic officials are scheduled to reassess the current shutdown on Monday (March 30), but further delays seem inevitable.

Coach Bob Atwell, whose Beacon High School baseball team went 13-8 last season, was hoping for good things this spring. He said his players are concerned but hopeful.

Beacon baseball players are all smiles during a win over Hendrick Hudson last spring. (File photo by S. Pearlman)

“The players are very disappointed, some are apprehensive,” he said. “The last day we were on the field together you could tell. It felt like there was a gray sky, a black cloud, over us.

“The guys have worked so hard from last November, and now uncertainty is on everyone’s mind. We’ve never done anything like this, so it’s very different.”

Atwell is urging his student athletes to stay in shape and stay ready by doing what they can, alone. “We don’t know where we’re going, but we should all be doing what we can for our families,” he said. “Make things easy for your parents, do whatever you can. We talked about that.”

What no one wants to hear is that the spring sports seasons will be wiped out. “We’re hoping for a miracle — that things settle down and we can get back on the field,” the coach said. “If the season is lost, I’d feel terrible for the seniors. Some athletes in other sports got to experience some of their senior season. But we also have some who only play baseball. My heart breaks for them.

“The kids would be absolutely devastated if we lose this season; they’ve worked hard for years to represent the city and their town,” he said. “We’re hopeful, but I also believe reality is setting in for a lot of them.”

The Haldane High School boys’ lacrosse team went 15-3 last year and had sectional title aspirations for 2020.

Coach Ed Crowe with his Haldane team in 2018. (File photo)

“It’s tough, but you have to look out for the health of the student athletes,” said Coach Ed Crowe. “They’re taking it well but there’s some disappointment. They want to play. But they also recognize this is something we’ve never seen.”

Crowe is hoping not to have to tell his players there will be no games. “They understand this is in their best interest, but there are a lot of spring events, so it will be tough. I will feel terrible for the seniors if we lose all that time.”

Crowe reinforced the idea that athletes should be working out on their own and not in small groups. “We’ve been giving the kids individual workouts that they can do three or four days a week,” he said.

Jim Henry, who coaches the Beacon High School boys’ and girls’ track teams, said some of his coaches and athletes are hoping for a shortened season but “others feel we don’t have much of a chance. Kids are trying to stay in shape. I feel worse for the seniors, especially if they’re not competing in sports in college.”

Henry said coaches are trying to encourage athletes to stay in shape, but time is running out. “The further on we get, the harder it is to see any kind of season,” he said. “You start looking at summer and next year.

“Getting the kids back to school is the first thing,” he said. “But then there may be no buses to other schools. It’s going to look different when we get back. No one knows how different. Sports are secondary to school. So until we have a vision of that, there’s no looking into what sports will look like.”

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