Coronavirus Leaves Spring Sports Season in Limbo


Andrew Millar

Pictured: Russell Field, devoid of athletes.

Charlie Bonney, Sports Editor

Note: This article was written before Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on April 21st that all school buildings in the state will not be open for the remainder of the school year. 

Like so many other parts of life, sports have been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Professional sports leagues were among the first organizations to call off events due to a rapid increase in cases across the globe. As with major sports leagues, the Massachusetts high school spring sports season has been delayed—possibly canceled—due to the pandemic. This has left many CRLS athletes unsure of what the coming months may hold for them and their teams.

Eli Chamblee, a junior on the CRLS baseball team, had high hopes for this season: “I know we had a good chance to make the state tournament, so we’re all pretty crushed about that,” he said. As time goes on and the effects of the coronavirus continue to grow, it seems increasingly unlikely that students will be able to return to school for the end of the spring semester and the sports season. However, some hope remains.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), the governing body for Massachusetts high school sports, has decided not to scrap the spring season yet. Instead, they have made provisions for a shortened spring sports season starting on May 4th, the date that Governor Charlie Baker set for a potential reopening of schools in Massachusetts. In a meeting on March 30th, the MIAA Board of Directors put out a list of guidelines for a possible spring season. The meeting included a decision to include sectional championships in the season and that a team will need to play a minimum of eight games to qualify. The Board also pushed the final possible date for high school athletics competitions to take place to June 27th. The proposed format for the shortened season does not include a state tournament, meaning state champions will not be crowned this spring; only champions for the north, south, central, and west regions. These decisions were made after high school students across the country advocated for salvaging the season. 

The whole team was preparing the whole offseason to make this championship run and for seniors, this was the last time to spend with each other.

— Solomon Hearn '20

The delay to the spring sports season and possible cancellation altogether has been devastating to many CRLS athletes, especially seniors playing their final season of high school athletics. Solomon Hearn, a senior and volleyball player at CRLS, called the season’s delay “heartbreaking.” He said, “The whole team was preparing the whole offseason to make this championship run and for seniors, this was the last time to spend with each other.”

Despite the current anguish, if school resumes and the spring sports season does go ahead, CRLS athletes say they will be ready to play. Claudia Dyer ’20 of the girls lacrosse team said, “It will be hard to start two months later,” but she is still confident that she and her teammates “are all ready to hit the ground running and do everything we can to make [the] tournament.” 

Meanwhile, Mr. Tom Arria, the CRLS athletics director, has urged students to be responsible in these times, writing in an email to the student body, “I want to remind you that while you are trying to find ways to stay fit, navigate the academic schedule and live your daily life, that it is very important to follow recommendations of keeping your distance, and washing your hands.”

Although many are desperate for their sports seasons to resume, professional athletes around the world have also stressed the importance of taking the virus seriously. Among these athletes is NBA player Karl Anthony-Towns, who posted an emotional video on his Instagram explaining that his mother had been put in a coma after being diagnosed with coronavirus. Later on in the video, he encouraged his fans to take the proper precautions to prevent more spread of the deadly virus. Stories like this highlight to fans and players alike that the current global crisis is more important than sports and push them to recognize that the world could come out of this time stronger if they are united in the fight against COVID-19.