High School Athletic Fields Sit Empty for a Second Season

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Dawson Patrick, Jayden Glass, and Melvin Yamoah

Fall Sports at Kenwood High School, along with the rest of high school athletics in Maryland, have been postponed. Compounded with the loss of the Spring 2020 season,  it is affecting many students and even our coaches. With fall sports pushed back to the spring at the earliest, a lot of student-athletes were forced to deal with a part of their life taken away that they’ve enjoyed for years. Sports can be a huge part of a student athletes’ identity and to strip that way for going on almost a year now has been a bit of a tragedy to some.

Junior Jayden Glass was looking forward to being this year’s Bluebird starting quarterback for the varsity football team. “To be honest this is rather depressing, and if there wasn’t going to be a season in the spring, I don’t know what I’d do. I think it’s fair, it’s just what has to be done because we’re in a tight spot. But the potential of having no season could crush an athlete mentally so I really hope there is one.”

Kenwood’s athletic director Coach Ruocco feels for what the student athletes are missing with the threat of the virus. “I’m very sad about the fact that we don’t have sports because sports is such a big thing in kids’ lives and it’s something everybody looks forward to and loves, but I’m hopeful that we could start it up sometime the second semester. I’m confident that we’ll have seasons for all sports and teams. They laid out that there will be three shortened seasons as long as we return to school in February. But it’s not guaranteed because of the virus which is still a big question mark and a big mystery.”

Mr. Grubka who coaches Kenwood’s basketball and is also one of our school counselors understands the vital role youth sports can play for students’ mental health and motivation in school. “Being active in sports typically has a positive impact on students’ mental health. Being active and around your teammates typically is a fun and a competitive experience. Many students, after graduation, will reminesce about those sports experiences. For those seniors who were hoping to play at the collegiate level, there’s much unknown right now and that may cause angst.”

Athletes like Kenwood Lacrosse junior Dorian R. are using this down time to try to stay sharp with their academics and their athletic skills. “My coach from last season before the virus hit told me to try to recruit people for this upcoming season and to make sure that I keep my grades up. I’m also starting to work out again and trying to get back into shape so I can hopefully be at an even better skill level than before.”

Though most athletes feeling down about another missed sports season after last Spring’s cancelled season, junior Derrick P. shared, “I’m trying to look at the bright side that we might still have a season this year and am doing my best to push through this time.”

Sports can have such an impact on the growth and development of a student. Mr. Grubka adds, “Personally, I think student athletes can learn much. They can learn to deal with pressure, learn to work hard, and learn to work as a team. Student athletes can learn about themselves in how much they can handle, what they are willing to do to win and how much practice is needed to improve.” With the fields sitting empty now for seven months with another possible three more months of no competition as youth athletes’ youth slips away it leaves many wondering what will be the impact for these student athletes on losing so much time not only developing their game but the character development they often get from playing the game.

We’re all holding out hope we’ll get to see our Bluebirds back in action on the fields and courts soon.