I was never interested in playing college soccer. For as long as I can remember, my ultimate goal while practicing or competing in my sport was to represent my high school and create lifelong memories with my teammates.
My goal, in part, has already been fulfilled; throughout my high school experience, I’ve had the honor of repping LT and have had a blast going up against the likes of Hinsdale Central, Oak Park-River Forest and the other rivals scattered around the Chicagoland area in the West Suburban Silver Conference. But without a senior year season, there would be a gaping hole in my high school experience littered with “what ifs” and “could-of, should-of, would-ofs”.
These goals and memories I know can be directly applied to the roughly 330,000 Illinois high school athletes. With winter sports underway and the first round of spring sports set to begin March 1, now is the moment for so many of us upperclassmen, particularly seniors, to create our legacy: how will this class be remembered? How can we ensure that this year’s team, which will likely play without the infamous Weirdos’ chirps, will continue to cement the reputation of Lyons Township athletics?
Unfortunately, the latest Illinois High School Association sports update has released only two definite State Series competitions—both virtual—for Dance and Cheerleading. This isn’t necessarily designed to criticize the indecisiveness surrounding IHSA. It’s not meant to satirize that not an ounce of JB Pritzker’s enormous administration has vocally supported the return of high school sports. It is simply meant to convey the frustrations, hopes and anxiety so many high school athletes have felt since the pandemic swept over the nation in March of 2020.
Early this year, IHSA released a statement calling for the return of sports, writing that they fear for the mental health of students who attempt to traverse a long winter with no athletic outlet available. Considering the however-many inches of snow Chicago’s been pounded with the past month, I think it’s safe to say ISHA hit the nail on the head with that one. There are very few combinations more depressing than Zoom classes and shoveling.
Even only a few contact days into my senior year soccer season, the drab routine of day-to-day online learning has been broken and replaced with (finally) an outlet I can really look forward to. Seeing some of my teammates, like Jack Swicionis ‘21, Max Behm ‘21 or Jack Luttrell ‘21, has brought that social link to my weekdays that hadn’t been present in a little under a year.
Regardless of the shifting schedule, lack of non-conference games and state series, I will do my best to speak for the rest of my peers in that we will take what we can get–so game on.