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Daily Journal
     April 24, 2020      #70-115 KDJ

To our seniors 

By Mason Schweizer

To our senior spring athletes,

This sucks. I am one of the most positive-thinking people you will ever meet, yet I can’t think of any way this week’s news from the IHSA doesn’t just flat-out suck.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve told kids and coaches, starting when seasons ended last spring and all the way through fall and summer sports, I can’t wait to see them again in the spring. Now I won’t. And those moments we always talked about happening during these next couple of months, they won’t happen either.

It’s a sobering punch to the gut for so many people, and I can’t imagine how deep that pain is felt for the seniors and their parents. Our spring sports are traditionally the strongest in the area. It can make for some painfully busy weeks at times for the sports staff here, but every bit of that time is worth it.

For years, more than a decade for most, this season was what so many seniors lost sleep over looking ahead to. Reality’s slap in the face has left its hand print in many walks of life — some of those might be more severe than losing sports, but that doesn’t mean our athletes shouldn’t feel any less pain.

And I don’t have any words that will make it feel better. No one really does. There really isn’t anyone on the planet who has gone through quite this experience, so don’t let anyone try to tell you how to feel. It’s OK to hurt. I hate to get all corny and spew the typical talk about the later teen years and the importance of expressing yourself during a time of such personal growth, but it’s true. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry, be angry. It’s alright.

The news is so crushing not just because there are no games to win or records to break but because sports are such an escape. I hope many of you can use this time of silence in the world to expand your own horizons and perhaps find a new outlet. For those who already have, let your passion shine brightly through whatever that might be.

Sports are far from the only senior activities that will be canceled or severely altered. That last day of roaming the hallways for a day of school already is gone. Senior skip day went from a day of fun to months of quarantine. I already have seen schools trying to think of creative substitutes for traditional proms and graduation ceremonies. Whatever does happen in regard to those final moments of high school, it will be different.

That’s something you all can embrace. The Class of 2020 always will be remembered for its unique circumstances, so why not make the best of those memories. Everyone else will be sharing the same, traditional memories with their grandkids, but you will have a different story of how high school ended for you.

When I spoke to Bradley-Bourbonnais athletic director and football coach Mike Kohl the other day, he emphasized now is perhaps the most important time for us to all love each other. I couldn’t agree more. As you’re all hurting together, some will be feeling that pain more than others. Make sure to check up on your friends, and let them know they aren’t alone in this.

We’re all in this together and are going to come out better on the other side, and there’s some solace to take in that.

There are so many seniors I’ve grown close to after a couple years of coverage. Some of my favorite memories from this job aren’t necessarily the games themselves but the jubilant moments you allow me to share with the community. Just like the memories you and your classmates have been making the past six weeks and will continue to make until this is all over, each and every one of those memories is unique.

I’m grateful for that.

Thanks, and best wishes,

Mason Schweizer

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