Striking Out Against Covid

The+lined+fields+were+left+empty+due+to+the+cancellation+of+WBHS%27s+softball+season.++Teams+were+able+to+get+in+two+practices+and+one+scrimmage+before+the+season+was+cancelled.++%22I%E2%80%99m+disappointed+that+so+many+kids+just+lost+a+whole+year+of+a+high+school+sport+that+they+have+been+waiting+for%2C%22+Coach+Wright%2C+the+varsity+head+coach%2C+said.

Erykah Sampson

The lined fields were left empty due to the cancellation of WBHS’s softball season. Teams were able to get in two practices and one scrimmage before the season was cancelled. “I’m disappointed that so many kids just lost a whole year of a high school sport that they have been waiting for,” Coach Wright, the varsity head coach, said.

Erykah Sampson, journalist

 When Governor Northam cancelled school in March for the state of Virginia, he cancelled sports and after-school activities as well, leaving athletes heartbroken over a season that they would never get back.

Spring sports teams were  left devastated at the fact they would not get to play this last season.  The Varsity and JV softball players lost not only their school year to Covid-19 but also their season.  Players of all grade levels were left with mixed feelings about the school board’s decision to shut down the school.  

“I was really disappointed because I made Varsity as a freshman and I didn’t get to play,” Delaney Overstreet, 10, said.

Because of this, the team was only able to play one scrimmage before the entirety of the  season was cancelled . The seniors who had been waiting for this moment since they first stepped on to that field their freshman year for tryouts, were left disappointed with the news that they would never be able  to finish out their senior year and make their final stand as Western Branch athletes.   

“I was disappointed since it was my senior year,” Maison Myers,WBHS Alumni, said, “I wanted to kind of leave a mark on the organization.”

However, the coaches didn’t give up hope and tried to keep the girls in positive mindsets about the season.  Though eventually it was announced that the spring sports seasons would be cancelled indefinitely when students and staff realized they would not be returning to school for the rest of the year.  

“I feel like it was really hard because [the school board] got our hopes up in the beginning when they said that they would try to get us back on the field.  I felt horrible for the seniors and all of us for losing that season,”  Coach Sarah Wright, the Varsity head coach, said. “It was a huge part of our lives that was cut from us.”

While the teams lost their season they also lost their opportunity to play softball due to the ongoing spread of Covid-19.  Many players only played softball for the school and didn’t participate in activities outside of school.  This could potentially be a problem in the upcoming season.  Players who haven’t played softball since school ended may not be at their best when it comes time for tryouts.

“With no access to gyms and travel ball being cancelled, I expect athletes to be rusty,” Coach Rose, a JV coach, said.  “I expect them to be stressed.”

The loss of this season impacted the coaches and players who were left to cope with the knowledge that they would not have the chance to play.  With Varsity going 13-11 while also making it to states and JV having a record of 11-5 the season before and with new talented athletes on the teams, the season was promising.  The coaches had high expectations and were looking forward to seeing how this new team would perform.

“I think that they both would have done really great.  I feel like varsity would have gotten really far,” Coach Vanessa Haymon, a JV coach, said. “It’s a shame we couldn’t see them perform with the seniors and freshman.  The jv team was also really promising.”

This season has left both coaches and players, along with their families, wondering what could have happened if schools were never shut down.  How far could these teams have gone if given the opportunity?  These coaches and players will never know the true answer to that question.   A huge part of these athletes’ lives was cut from them.  They lost something that could have been a turning point for the softball organization’s record that they can never get back. 

 “With this group, I was ten times more hopeful,” Coach Wright said. “All the cards were there and we had potential to go really far.  I just hate not knowing and not being able to go back.  To lose six people that were so vital to the team you can never know what they would have done.”