Starting a sport or ending it in 2021: Freshmen and seniors adapt to a sports season like no other

Students reflect on how the pandemic has affected their first and last experiences with high school sports

by Allen Chan, Reporter

Normally, fall sports return against a backdrop of the seasonal changes marked by golden hues, falling leaves, and dropping temperatures as summer ends. This school year, fall sports started up under the gray and rainy skies of March. 

Soccer player kicks ball towards goal (by Ingrid Lid)

And starting fall sports in the spring hasn’t been the only change. 

With a sports season starting againin a pandemic, precautions are sorted to ensure safety amongst athletes and coaches: masks worn, 6 feet apart when possible, and daily attestations filled out upon arrival for practice. Even with precautions, athletes were itching to start practice and begin to train to their heart’s content. Excited coaches saw returning athletes and new faces coming on the first day of practice. 

Even though most have been happy to be back, the 2021 sport season isn’t something athletes had hoped for. Participating in a sport during a pandemic isn’t something senior athletes had imagined as a last year but makes this last year the most memorable as it can be. 

As for the freshmen beginning their first year in a high school sport in a pandemic, they seem committed to succeeding in their desired sport as they represent Shorewood. 

For seniors doing a sport isn’t just about being athletic and staying fit. It’s also about creating new memories and being able to meet new people. 

Grace Kamila, senior, has been on the soccer team since her freshman year. “It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I’ve made some of my closest friends and memories through sports. However, I’m grateful to have the chance to compete for one last season.”

Volleyball players Lucy Heagler (left) and Jersey Patterson (right) (by Ingrid Lid)

Kamila has some wonderful memories to look back on. “Drinking corn in the locker room or making it to state sophomore year,”  said Kamila of her most memorable moments while playing soccer.

Sport seasons were cut in half with fewer games and limited or no spectators allowed to cheer on Shorewood.

Senior Lucy Heagler has been on the volleyball team since freshman year. “It’s definitely pretty bittersweet. None of us thought we would get a season at all so it’s pretty nice that we h

Cross Country member running (by Ingrid Lid)

ave something, but it makes me wish we had the full length of the normal year,” Heagler said. 

When on a team, being able to bond with your team is what makes memories memorable and is what athletes love about doing a sport. 

“My favorite memory was team bonding at Sawyer’s cabin sophomore year when Brynn almost hit a dog while going 5 mph,” said Heagler reflecting on years past. 

Freshman Keiyu Mamiya joined the cross country team and has been having a positive experience while being on the team.

“Shorewood XC has been pretty fun and the people have really welcomed me and we’ve had fun running together,” said Mamiya.

Henry Poetzl, freshman, joined the cross country team and was skeptical at first about joining, but said he enjoyed the experience.

“I didn’t even really want to do it at first, but I ended up having a blast. The best part was the community,” he said.