Seniors in Sports – Playing Your Final Season In a Pandemic


Abby Holbrook and Grace Franzen

Senior year for the class of 2021 has been nothing short of disappointing. We have missed out on all the fun senior traditions that we have waited so long to experience, like sitting in the front row in the packed football stadium, the senior section of assemblies, marching around the hallways during homecoming week, and to top it off, we will never get to attend a real high school prom. The biggest loss, though, is the final goodbye many of us have to say to those sports we’ve played for so many years. While there are some who will go on to continue their sports careers at the collegiate level, most seniors will never set foot on the court, field, mat, or pool ever again. Since many sports have been delayed to the later part of spring, only a few have had their seasons; including Football, Boys Tennis, Boys Golf, Cheer, Toms, Girls Swimming, Wrestling, and Basketball. I spoke to several seniors about their final high school seasons, and while coronavirus has ruined some things about it, a lot of them were also able to find something good about their last high school sport moments. 

Throughout our high school career, we have always waited and dreamed of our senior nights and recognitions we would receive as a goodbye to our sports, but this pandemic has cancelled and ruined our opportunity to make those memories. Michael Greene, a senior on the football team said, “I only am bummed to be quarantined for my final game. Compared to previous seasons, I did wish we had the opportunity to review game-plans as a team and am disheartened we didn’t have that experience as a team.” Another senior, a swimmer, Riley Ballard, said “It is very hard, as a captain, trying to organize things with all the restrictions, and people are used to being lazy and negative. It’s hard to get motivated when we’re so used to doing what we want when we want, and it’s hard to be positive with all the strict rules.” When it comes to planning team events, hosting games, and even team bonding, it has been almost impossible to find solutions that make everyone happy. As a senior captain of swimming, my biggest challenge with my final season was simply the upsets that were caused based on decisions and conflicts that were completely out of our control. With everything varying by the day, there was a lack of consistency, and changes were being made daily. For those who were out of the loop of communication, it became hard to enjoy the season and created a lot of negativity towards the sport and the teammates. Our team’s seniors did miss out on a lot, like team feeds, our last in-person dual meet, and the traditional senior recognition – but I do believe that if we all had a positive and easy going mindset about it all, it wouldn’t have felt like such a loss. 

While there has been a lot of loss and negativity exuded by seniors in sports this year, there have also been some good things to come out of all of the bad. For one, a senior on the basketball team, John Park, says “We get to have the court to ourselves for practice and don’t have to share a crowded court with other teams.” Another senior on the wrestling team, Trevin Reinders, added, “As the season continued, this year felt like more of a bonding experience than any. You had a lot of time with the same guys, which made the cohorts very close. It led to an overall successful season with lots of energy and improvement.” It was really refreshing to talk to these seniors and listen to them talk about all the good things that came out of their season, but my favorite response was Michael’s positive take on his last season, saying “My senior football season was a blessing. I am thankful for the season and extremely happy to finish my season on a high note, being I got to play my last football games ever alongside my brother.” Through all the loss and the sadness of our senior seasons being different than before, many of us were still able to appreciate the time and the opportunities we did have and make the most of our last seasons, through enjoying the time spent with our teams, and getting to play with our siblings for one last run. 

This pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone doing any activity, because restrictions and cases have been everchanging, but the class of 2021 is still finding the good and fun in our final sports seasons and our last days in high school. Returning to normalcy is in the distant future, but even with that in mind, there is still so much to enjoy and remember from what opportunities we were able to have throughout our last games.