Less than two weeks after the final game before the AHSAA temporary suspension, spring sports athletes saw their worst fear come to life as the news came out there would be no more games for the remainder of the school year. Everyone’s attention quickly turned to the outgoing seniors who are now faced with their final high school seasons cut short.
“I’d say heartbreak is an understatement,” Stanhope Elmore senior Victoria Cortes said. “This was the last year for me to play soccer with all of my best friends… Our team bonded in ways that were going to make this season great. I just hate that we didn’t get to show everyone what we had to offer.”
Seniors from all over the county echoed those same sentiments as they struggled to find the words after hearing the announcement of schools shutting down for the year.
“At first, it felt like it wasn’t even real,” Wetumpka baseball player Seth Johnson said. “We all wanted to come back and restart. It was disappointing especially because it was my senior season. We knew there wasn’t anything we could do about it though.”
Players wanted to spend time together when the news broke but so many of them were forced to just talk to one another over group chats and FaceTime calls. However, even if it was not the same as being there together, they understood the importance of staying in touch to keep each other positive.
“It’s important because we are all going through the same thing,” Cortes said. “We want to be there for each other. We think of all the memories and fun times we had. We want to remember those great times.”
One of the largest senior groups in the area belongs to the Tallassee softball team as seven seniors are set to graduate this summer. The Tigers owe a lot of their rise as a program to that group which racked up 110 wins in its four years at the high school level. They finished the season as the No. 1 ranked team in Class 5A.
“I think it would be hard either way but knowing we had our goals set high and we had a real shot, it hurts a little more,” Tallassee senior Jordan Walters said. “We have talked a lot. We have to look back at the good times. We want to make sure the whole team is staying positive.”
It may be easier said than done right now but everyone is hoping to keep those good memories at the front of their minds instead of focusing on how things ended.
At Edgewood, the senior class in baseball and softball were apart of much more than just the spring sports season. Many players played two or three sports and the seniors are hoping to use all of those memories to make up for the bad taste in their mouths right now.
“I’m glad to say I don’t have any regrets so I hope they don’t either,” Edgewood senior Luke Sisson said. “Ever since coach (Bobby) Carr left, we wanted to bring Edgewood back. I feel like we have helped accomplish that in all sports. I think it’s great to see how it has all changed. It’s satisfying to look back at the whole thing.”
Sisson, Walters and Johnson are fortunate enough to be some of the seniors who are on their way to play at the next level which may help take the sting out of the news a little bit. However, they know it is not easy for those that have to hang up their cleats one final time.
“We just keep reassuring them that we had some pretty good times and we had a dang good season still,” Walters said.
“I know it’s got to be crazy hard,” Johnson added. “I know those guys love the sport just as much as I do. I want to try to help them through it and be there for whatever they need.”
Cortes said she will not be playing at the next level and she hopes she can learn something from this whole experience.
“This is a lesson learned,” Cortes said. “Coaches tell you to give it your everything and play like its your last game. Everything I do now I will be giving 100 percent.”