Players Comment on the Pushback

With delayed seasons, senior athletes contemplate the risk to their athletic futures.

Sophia Seda, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Sports Editor

With COVID-19 seemingly devouring the best parts of high school, it wasn’t a total shock when all 2020-2021 sports seasons were pushed tmid-winter. Still, many athletes were concerned by the delay and what it meant for their athletic careers, in high school and beyond.  

Seniors especially have been put at a disadvantage, as their college recruitment process has come to a halt. Scholarships are harder to come by, as no student was prepared for the outbreak.  

According to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s (NYSPHSAA) website, a task force of “NYSPHSAA staff, superintendents, athletic directors, principals, section executive directors, and athletic trainers within the NYSPHSAA membership” has been created to make recommendations and determine the safety guidelines necessary to allow students to safely return to sports.

While logical, the verdict still triggered both positive and negative judgments from current student athletes 

My primary concern is how sports meets that function beyond our league or county will work. To my knowledge, most state and national championships are cancelled,” said Mohammad Mohammad, senior Varsity wrestler and track runner. To me, that removes the competitive nature of Brentwood sports and modifies them to be more of an after-school club.”

Mohammed Mohammed practices his starts on the track. (Mohammed Mohammed)

For many students, this could have been their last year to play their sport competitively. Some are mourning the loss of a season that might never come to be. 

One of my biggest fears is that I won’t be able to have my senior season at all,” said Maybelline Machuca, Varsity swimmer.  

Everyone looks forward to their senior year, especially athletes. I’ve dreamt about my senior meet since middle school and having that ripped away from me truly broke my heart,” she said. 

Machuca also shared how the physical and mental benefits of sports could help athletes cope with the negatives of social-distancing measures, such as isolation from friends and family, or the stress of a virtual or hybrid learning environment. 

“Many student-athletes rely on their sport to relieve stress, maintain a healthy weight, or even get away from problems going on in their everyday lives,” Machuca said. 

Nonetheless, sports were immediately off the table in September when students returned to school. Machuca feels it’s a call that was made too quickly. 

“Completely rescheduling all sports seasons was a bit extreme to me,” Machuca said. I think that sports officials should have waited at least 2 weeks of in school instruction to determine if sports were to be postponed or not. It would have given officials a chance to see if schools were remaining healthy.” 

Maybelline Machuca poses in her swimsuit at a practice prior to COVID-19. (Maybelline Machuca)

Still, not everyone has opposed the NYSPHSAA recommendations. 

“I don’t think it’s fair to judge the NYSPHSAA plan. The pushback seems like an attempt to give a few months for a solution to this pandemic… safety is our main concern,” Mohammad said. 

The student athletes remain hopeful that their seasons will still take place this year.  

With the right protocols and strong precautions, I know it’s possible to make this upcoming sport season safe for all students and coaches,” Machuca said. 

For the latest updates on if and when sports seasons will continue, students can visit the New York State Public High School Athletic Association website: http://www.sectionxi.org/home.asp.