It has been kind of surprising, considering what they missed, that so many student athletes kept positive, understanding and unselfish attitudes through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether high school or college seniors, all had their spring sports seasons canceled because of the pandemic. Some college seniors had the postseasons of their winter sports campaigns halted as well, like in basketball, wrestling, track and field and swim and dive.
There were athletes who would have had opportunities to win state championships in high school, and some national titles in college.
Those who talked with the Sun Gazette in recent weeks admitted being disappointed about the premature ends to their specific sports careers, some saying they shed tears, were mad and banged fists into walls or lockers over the matter.
After that, they became accepting, to a degree, as they recognized that the pandemic and life-threatening situations were larger than sports.
“This situation is bigger than our season and our basketball career,” said Langley High School graduate Nate Shafer, who was a standout senior forward for the Division III men’s basketball team at Swarthmore College during the winter.
Swarthmore (28-1) had a chance to win a national title, reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tourney.
Senior track and field stars Isaiah Mefford of Wakefield High and Rebecca Stewart of Washington-Liberty could have won state crowns during the outdoor spring season.
“It was disappointing for all of us, but people were getting sick. So something had to be done,” Mefford said.
Said Stewart: “With all that was happening with that virus, we couldn’t think about ourselves.”
Others had similar reactions, with no real anger and an understanding the situation was bigger than sports.