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Senior athletes react to pandemic seasons

DEAR EDITOR:

This is about stress and uncertainty high school student-athletes feel during this pandemic. As Lakeview High School volleyball assistant coach, I have witnessed it first hand.

Every day brings uncertainty of being shut down and unable to finish the season. Athletes’ minds are constantly wondering if they will have the next practice or game.

Each athlete struggles differently. Each one uses sports for something different. Some use it to get to college. Others use it as a stress reliever. When sports were canceled in March, much stress came to these athletes. There were changes in their routines and missing friends and family, triggering depression and anxiety.

Senior volleyball and basketball player from Lakeview High School, Mara Crish, said this: “As soon as the pandemic started, I just had this feeling that nothing was going to be the same. Once we were given the OK to play, it was the best feeling. I was tired of seeing my teammates through a computer screen and doing the workouts alone. The new view was a very different one, especially the fact that we were all wearing masks. … The pandemic has made me not take things for granted.”

This player is a strong vocal leader on the Lakeview volleyball team. In the past she would bring energy into the gym every day. She continued to bring energy and encouragement throughout our shutdown, but from a distance.

When sports reopened in June, it wasn’t the same. Athletes practiced in small groups with masks and no contact. They felt as if they had no control. Senior volleyball player Anna Peterson said, “I think the pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty around everyone’s seasons. Every day we’re risking getting our entire season canceled just by one person not feeling well, and I think for all players, especially the seniors, this put a lot of stress on wanting to be extra cautious.”

She is a three-year varsity player and a leader. Her encouragement and excitement throughout the season has lead this team through the pandemic. She was a constant voice in the players’ heads, making sure they remained safe outside of volleyball, in order for the season to continue.

These athletes have never performed better. They come to practice every day ready to work and improve their skills. They act as each day is a day they didn’t expect to have, especially the senior athletes. I see energy and excitement on the court that I’ve never seen before. These student athletes are learning to live each day to the fullest.

LANEY LYTLE

Howland

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