Athletes at Osseo and Maple Grove high schools are disappointed that their spring season has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak but are hopeful that they will get to compete.
The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) issued directives on March 15 that ban all high school spring activities including practices from March 18 to 27.
“When our team first heard the news, we were all disappointed that we wouldn’t get to play,” said Ellie Hosmann, a senior on the Maple Grove softball team. “However we all understood why the choice to ban sports until the end of March was made. We are all still extremely hopeful that we will be able to resume our season once March is over.”
Hosmann’s teammate Bella Daniels echoed the same feeling.
“We were all disappointed but our coach stressed that we can only control the controllable and that gave us all a different perspective,” Daniels said. “Our coaches have been very positive through this and I think that is very helpful to the whole team.”
“There is no way to sugar coat that this virus has created many unforeseen obstacles for many athletes’ seasons, and I never expected anything of this magnitude to have such influence over my senior year,” Osseo track and field senior Gabby Bodin said. “There are still many things I wish to accomplish this season. I do not plan on ending my high school track career with any what-ifs. Many athletes feel the same way. I understand the major health concerns of Covid-19 but it is still very difficult to grasp the potential impact it will have on student activities.”
Unable to practice with their teammates, many athletes are working out on their own. Hosmann and Daniels are extra motivated because the Crimson won the state softball championship last spring and the 2020 team is eager to defend the title.
“Some of us have basements where we are able to hit or throw into a net or workout so we have been taking advantage of those spaces,” Daniels said.
“Our team has been encouraging each other to get workouts done on our own, whether it’s practicing softball or just working out,” Hosmann said. “We know that everyone is in the same boat as us, which means that the people who put in the work on their own during this time off will be more successful once the season is able to start. That’s why as a team, every individual putting in the work is extremely important during this time.”
LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
Perhaps the only positive from this crisis is that the athletes have had more time to do things they normally don’t have time to do during a sports season.
“I have been able to catch up on some much needed pleasure reading and spring cleaning,” Bodin said.
“During my time off, I’ve been focusing on spending time with my family and on myself,” Hosmann said. “Since I am a senior, I’ve been starting to prepare myself for college coming up, and just making the most out of all the time I have on my hands right now.”
The severity of the situation also hits the coaches very hard.
“I think the realities of this pandemic are so difficult to accept,” Osseo track and field coach John Rundquist said. “But it is a real issue for all of us. As coaches it is wrenching, but for many of our athletes it is in many ways life changing, especially for our seniors.”
Maple Grove baseball coach Darby Carlson said in the past sports offer a respite from the grind of daily life and national crisis, but even that has been taken away by this coronavirus outbreak.
“It is a challenging time in our world right now,” Carlson said. “Now with sports temporarily out of the picture one reflects on the important things in life — God, country, family, and friends would be at the top the list of items to be thankful for. That being said one of the most disappointing things about the prospect of not having baseball this spring would be missing out on the daily interactions with players, especially the seniors whose time with our program is limited. It is a thing of beauty to attend practice after a day of work and play a game with young men who are excited about embracing the challenges presented in their sport. These challenges can often prepare them for overcoming the unexpected in life.”
The athletes and coaches are trying to keep a positive attitude and doing their best to work out. But they also realize that there is a very real possibility that the entire season could be canceled.
“I think it’s in the back of all of our minds,” Daniels said. “We’re just very hopeful that we will get to play this season. We have all put in so much work this offseason and we just hope that we get an opportunity to play.”
“I have started to prepare myself for the season to be canceled entirely,” Hosmann said. “I know that this is a possibility, considering there are so many unknowns, but I am still hopeful that we will be able to play. Since I am a senior, I really hope that this scenario doesn’t happen, as I just want to be able to play my final season with all of my amazing teammates. I truly believe that we have the potential to do very well again this year, so I hope that we get the chance to do that. I know that we are also all very thankful that our season has not been canceled already, which is why we are continuing to put in the work individually. I also know that remaining optimistic is really all that I can control right now, and I plan to do that until we get the final word.”
“Our hope is that we are back together practicing on March 30, but the optimism seems to be decreasing by the hour,” Rundquist said. “We are hoping and praying that our season can be salvaged, but it could sadly go down as one of the what-if seasons.”