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’20 senior class can learn from experience

Oh man, to go back to senior year in high school. Wouldn’t that be something?

You could get away with just about anything as a senior. Plus, you were the top dog — in sports, at school, at parties and pretty much wherever you went.

Good times. No, great times.

The same can’t be said for the Class of 2020. These poor kids have had so much taken away. You can’t help but feel for them. Most student-athletes build up to that senior year as the pinnacle of their career. All the hard work, sacrifice, time and effort leads up to that last hurrah. And that’s just sports.

There are graduation parties, commencements, senior trips (pranks at said trip), banquets and countless events they’re missing out on. It’s not fair they lost those moments.

Unfortunately, life often isn’t fair. This isn’t one of those “get over it” speeches, so if you’re a senior and you’re reading this, don’t throw the paper away (or put your phone down) and tell me where to go and how to get there just yet.

The fact is, you’re not going to get over it. Not yet, at least. It will take some time for the sting of missing out on so much to pass. It stinks, plain and simple. Believe it or not, there are ways this disappointment will help you, though.

There are some things teachers, parents/guardians and friends can’t help you with in life. Dealing with loss is the biggest one. It’s frustrating that they can’t prepare you because it’s earth-shattering when you suffer a major loss, and the impact is much worse when you don’t respond to it correctly.

Often times, it’s hard to know what the right response is, and that will add to the despair, but you can find a way to push through.

Here’s a chance early in life to understand that sometimes you can’t lose your mind over situations you can’t control. Sadly, friends will move away (very soon for most of you). You’ll lose relationships with significant others. You’ll lose family members. Most of all, you’ll lose time.

Time can seem to work against you after high school. You realize you won’t be young and carefree forever, especially when loss hits. You’ll question yourself and wonder “what if” and “if I only did this,” then things could have been different. You’ll beat yourself up, and then, somehow, you’ll find a way to keep going — just like right now.

A lot of you are probably realizing you’re more resilient than you imagined. If someone told you four years ago that your senior season of baseball, track and field, softball, tennis or lacrosse was going to be taken from you, there’s a good chance you would’ve flipped out and just given up on the sport.

You were too immature. You couldn’t deal with that type of trauma. Nowadays, while infuriated, you’re still functioning. You’re still working. You’re still training. You’re still putting your future in place. You’re making some of the biggest decisions of your life in the middle of one of the greatest pandemics in over 100 years. That, my friends, will help you later in life in ways you can’t yet understand.

I know, that doesn’t give you the past few months back. It doesn’t take away the thoughts of “I wonder how good we could have been this season.” It’s awful, I know, but don’t lose your mind. It’s out of your control. Realize you’re stronger, mentally, right now than you have ever been in your life because of all this, and that growth has only just begun.

Congratulations, Class of 2020, you’re the strongest class anyone has seen in 100 years. For that, you have my utmost respect.

Best of luck. We’ll be rooting for you.

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