The class of 2020 was known as “the class with vision.” Those seniors visualized themselves going to prom, finishing up their respective sports, and then walking across the stage to get their diploma. No one could have envisioned what their senior year would end up becoming.
Just a few weeks ago I was joking with Southeast Bulloch senior catcher Tucker Czech to make sure he appreciated the game he was playing, because it may be his last time on the diamond. Little did I know that would be the case.
It seems like a lifetime since March 12th, but it was just three weeks ago. My daughter is a senior on the golf team and had just come off a frustrating first match of the season. She was determined to get her score back down by practicing hard. She put in the work but was unable to take to the course for another match, as the season has officially ended.
I was so happy to hear the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to the college seniors who play spring sports, but for this year’s high school seniors, this is it. A handful of seniors will go on to play in college, but for the majority of them, their senior seasons, the one to which they have looked forward, were taken from them.
I have a special tie to this year’s senior class, as my daughter has grown up with this class, and having played a variety of sports, she’s made quite a few friends among the seniors throughout the county,
I think about these kids, and it really breaks my heart. They have all put in the work, many since they were in the recreation department leagues, all leading up to their senior seasons. They will never have a senior night. They weren’t able to take in the moments of their senior seasons, of bus rides with teammates, the pictures, and the cheer of the crowds.
The parents are missing out as well. They were looking forward to their child’s senior season. They were anticipating the moments in sports that all parents look forward to — the game-winning hit, the personal best time, the low round, the game-winning or saving goal, the serving ace. The pictures, the moments, senior night, all gone and not to be replaced.
I understand where missing a few games falls in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t make it any easier. We understand that safety is important, and while the reason for shutting down the season is to potentially save lives, it doesn’t make it easier.
I think about Sloan’s friends, and I hear stories about how they are devastated. I know how hard the boys on the Portal baseball team worked to turn their season around. I feel for them not being able to see what could have been.
I know most of the seniors on the Statesboro High, Southeast Bulloch and Bulloch Academy baseball teams, and how they were all looking forward to making a run at a region championship and the state playoffs their senior season.
I think about Taylor Gilchrist at Statesboro High not playing basketball to work on tennis his senior season. I think of his reaction being told it was over, without a chance at showing what all that extra work did for his game.
I think about the senior golfers at Statesboro High, and how they’ve played together since middle school. I have seen a few of them recently. They are all still having fun playing, but there’s an emptiness of not being able to complete what they started.
I think about the senior soccer players at Statesboro High, how they didn’t start off the way they wanted, but never had a chance to right the ship and see if they could turn things around.
In track I think about my good buddy Regan Ellis, arguably the best athlete in Bulloch County, how she was just an inch away from breaking the school shot put record. I also feel for her missing out on the rare opportunity to win five straight state titles. The Statesboro Relays, the Plankenhorn Invitational, the Gator Relays, events I have always looked forward to covering, all cancelled this year.
There is no way to make up for what all these kids have lost. Over the next few weeks, we are planning to salute these seniors in the best way we know how. We are reaching out to the spring sports coaches to tell us a little more about these special seniors, and hope to honor them in the pages of the Statesboro Herald.
Pictures and stories can be sent to email@example.com. I will try my best to try to highlight every senior that played a spring sport in Bulloch County, and look forward to hearing from the coaches and parents over the next few weeks.