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Facing a difficult and hard fact

Facing a difficult and hard fact Facing a difficult and hard fact

On Tuesday student-athletes all across Wisconsin heard the dreaded news — their spring sports season was cancelled. We all know the culprit responsible, so I won’t bother to waste any more ink on it.

It’s painful for me to type those words up above, painful to have to close a chapter that is wordless, that is blank and will have no records set, no titles won and no champions crowned.

There were runners like Chase and Willow Oehmichen that I know would have made it to state. There were sprinters and throwers like Tyler Klement and Blake Draper, Chase Sperl and Reiley Schreiber and Bobbie Lee that had a great chance to cap their senior careers with postseason runs. There were jumpers, like Hailey Voelker of Colby and Dalton Feddick of Abby, who would have done well in the post-season.

My golfers had their chance to make a legacy taken from them. My heart goes out to Colby senior Alex Holtz, who probably would have been All-Conference, and perhaps more.

I won’t get to see Jayden Falteisek on the pitcher’s mound for softball. The same goes for my seniors on the Abby/Colby baseball co-op. Something precious is gone, and it’s a pain that will linger for a long time. I know because I went through something similar in my own way.

I was a runner in high school. With my height, basketball was out of the question, and baseball games simply couldn’t keep my attention. I joined the cross-country team my sophomore season and I fell in love with it.

I didn’t always enjoy running, but the friends I made, the memories and camaraderie, you remember that forever. I made tremendous strides as a runner my sophomore and junior seasons, was varsity both years, and was poised for an even bigger senior year, where my friends and I were hoping to win conference.

I went out for track the spring of my junior year, and I was running in a race where the temperature was in the upper 90s. I had drank all my water, borrowed a water bottle from a friend, and took a sip.

It’s amazing how one seemingly simple action can have vast repercussions. Shortly after the track meet was over, I came down with a severe case of mononucleosis. I wrestled with the virus for weeks, missing the last bit of school. I lost weight, which as a distance runner, I had little weight to give.

I was bedridden for weeks, and by the time I was recovered, it was August, and cross-country was beginning. I had no energy and was lethargic for much of my senior season. Like the Class of 2020, I felt like something was stolen from me.

In the years since, I have thought about the whatifs often. But here’s some advice — don’t do that. The what-ifs will drive you crazy. Focus on the “I dids” and the “I cans” and the “I wills.”

There’s a lot that happens to us that’s out of our hands, like seeing a season cancelled, but there will be better days ahead. I promise.