If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
— Henry David Thoreau
This quote may never be more true than in the last few weeks for High School athletics in Colorado. The normal ebbs and flows of a school year and sports season have given way to the unexpected shut down of school and sports. No school in Colorado is immune to what has happened these last few weeks or the uncertainty of what is to come in the days ahead. Let me start by saying that I can't argue with decisions made by the powers that be in our amazing state and with the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) administrators. There were and are no easy decisions and whatever direction is chosen is open to criticism and scrutiny. Faith Christian Boys Basketball was two steps away from their 7th state basketball championship but on Friday, March 12th the season was cancelled. Faith had just defeated Alamosa High School 55-40 in the Quarterfinals in front of a near empty gym at Denver University on Thursday afternoon. Spirits were obviously high and the boys knew they were going to get a rematch with Sterling High School for the right to advance to a championship game. Friday morning all that was gone and without a loss the season was over.
I felt the worst for the players, coaches and parents of the 2020 seniors on the basketball team as they learned their season was done. You quickly realize as a senior that every game in the state tournament could be your last, that you only have today. So I can imagine after winning on Thursday they breathed a sigh of relief to fight another day never expecting the season would end so abruptly. It took a few days to wrap their minds around the season ending but kids are resilient and will move on. Coaches and parents will always have the "what if's" of the 2020 season. That is a fair emotion and one that will lead to conversations around the dinner table for years to come. A Final Four finish is nothing to be sad about, winning 21 games is something to be proud of and not losing your last game was their goal from the beginning of the season. As hard it was I would say they accomplished pretty much all of their goals and the one they didn't no one in the state of Colorado did either. It is turning lemons into lemonade that we have to do from time to time in life that can make times like these a little easier to swallow.
So what about Spring sports? CHSAA ruled that all Spring High School sports (baseball, club volleyball, girls soccer, track and field and trap shooting) were to go on hiatus until at least April 18. Spring sports has always been a volatile time with weather in Colorado but this is another natural occurrence we have no control over. What some people fail to realize is that today sports and preparation for sports almost never stop. The basketball team had been playing as a group since last spring. So when their season ended, that ended an 11 month journey as a group. Baseball for example at Faith has been throwing and hitting since September and so the excitement to get outside and finally play was palpable. The Eagles were even able to play a regular season game on Thursday, March 11th and defeated The Academy 7-0, that same day the season was postponed. Track and Field and Girls Soccer put in the work but were unable to even have one game or meet before their season was pushed back. The coaches and players realize that April 18 is a date that has no certainty, no guarantees and that the season hangs in the balance.
So what now? That is the question of the day for more than sports. We all need to have the perspective that there are so many greater issues to worry about than a game but for kids sports are a big part of their life. Sports supply an outlet for all athletes to use skills and accumulate life experiences outside of the classroom. Sports are a way to express abilities and talents that many have worked on since they were little boys and girls. Sports provide an avenue for possible collegiate and professional jobs that one day will allow them to make a living. The rules CHSAA laid down prohibit coach led practices and so whatever preparation can be done is going to be done by the players themselves. Players have to take the reins of their season and prepare as though one will happen without the guarantee that it will. This is another life lesson this kids didn't realize they would get to learn this school year. Preparing for something that may never happen but hoping that it will, what a skill they have a chance to acquire. Our hope as coaches is that these Spring athletes get some kind of season, even if it is just a few weeks. I know they want just a chance to compete together, a chance to apply their hard work in a game situation. Seniors I feel your anxiousness but I want you to know that you can still leave a legacy at your school. Show everyone that hard work never goes to waste and that doing something because you love it is very rewarding. I hope that very soon I will be able to publish an article reporting on the fantastic achievements of Faith Christian athletes on the field. If I don't get that chance I pray the lessons we all will learn this Spring will make us better equipped for success in the future.
Nathan Mauldin is the assistant athletic director for Faith Christian.
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