The effect that the cancellation of spring sports had on Mason

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Photo courtesy of Megan Clinton

The softball team reflects after their first scrimmage of the season. They and many other student-athletes had their sport’s season cut short.

Megan Clinton, News Editor

After Governor Ralph Northam announced that all Virginia schools must be closed for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) announced that spring sports and activities were canceled. Most teams didn’t get the chance to officially start their season and only had a few scrimmages before their season was cut short.

“I know all of our Mason Spring athletes are hurting right now, but we will all get through it if we help each other and lean on each other,” said Frank Spinello, the varsity boys soccer head coach. “Most of all we need to keep ourselves and those around us safe so we can all get back on the field.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about it, because health is a top priority, but I think it especially affects seniors and people looking to get recruited to play sports in college,” Olivia Games, a sophomore who runs track, said. “It’s really upsetting that seniors like my sister won’t get to play their sport and end their high school athletic careers properly.” 

The cancellation was hard on all of the coaches and student-athletes, especially the seniors who won’t be able to play next year. Despite this, sports teams are trying to keep their spirits up.

“Our team morale is surprisingly good,” Spinello said. “It is killing our guys to not be on the field together, but we are trying to stay as positive as we can and learn to allow it to make us stronger. I hope that our video meetings are helpful. Most of our team has been playing together for a while, so it is like a family.”

Some sports teams such as softball and soccer have held virtual meetings a couple of times a week, to check-in and stay connected.

Starting last week, the boys soccer team has been having virtual team meetings twice a week for anyone on the JV or Varsity that would like to attend,” Spinello said. “We talk about the loss of the season as we know it.”

Some seniors still have hope that they will be able to play this summer, as VHSL has not ruled out the option of having spring sports play an abbreviated season or a tournament. The VHSL was scheduled to make an announcement regarding these options for the summer on Tuesday, March 24, but many student-athletes argued that the decision should be made in a couple of weeks after we have more clarity about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was really looking forward to this season, we had a good team and coaches,” Grace Games, a senior on the softball team, said. “Hopefully we will still be able to play in the summer.”

Grace Games advocated for the decision to be delayed and she signed a change.org petition, along with 11,952 student-athletes across Virginia, requesting that the VHSL delay their decision. In the wake of the petition, the VHSL announced they would not make any decisions about the fate of the season until May.

“The crisis management team overwhelmingly felt a decision on an extension to the spring sports season should be put on hold until May,” said VHSL Executive Director John W. Haun said in a statement. “Any options for the spring sports season will require that COVID-19 is no longer a threat and poses no health risks to our student-athletes or the public.