It’s not a real team without real competition

Kwynne+Schlossman%2722%2C+Franny+Mann%2721%2C+Rachel+Schwartz%2721%2C+and+Rowan+MchWhinnie%2722+celebrating+a+victory+against+Sacred+Heart%2C+during+their+fall+2019+season.++

George Chang

Kwynne Schlossman’22, Franny Mann’21, Rachel Schwartz’21, and Rowan MchWhinnie’22 celebrating a victory against Sacred Heart, during their fall 2019 season.

Kwynne Schlossman, Web and Social Media Manager

High school athletics are essential to student growth and wellness. Teams bond over sports seasons but without them, teams are left divided and deliver a lack of effort on the field.

On Oct. 2, Athletic Director Logan Condon announced Masters would not be partaking in the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) seasons this fall, the leagues in which teams usually play. Although the cancellation of the season did not come as a surprise, it’s taken a toll on the athletic community.

Sports teams are currently holding practices which include a variety of different activities, scrimmages, drills and conditioning. Though the practices are similar to what they looked like last year, due to the cancellation of the season a main component is missing, the rigor and intensity which tend to bring the team closer together. 

Limited social interactions during practices obstructs the opportunity to form bonds over the highs and lows of a full athletic season. Being a part of a high school sports team, especially at Masters, allows student-athletes to create a connection during the depth of the season.

Senior tennis captain Eliza Abady said, “As a senior it’s disappointing. You wait all four years for this moment, and for that not to happen is sad, especially since I have trained so hard to make it count.”

As a third-year junior on the girls’ varsity soccer team, it is difficult to see the seniors not get their final season, something every athlete looks forward to. The seniors tend to take on the roles of bringing the team together to create a long lasting bind between the players. Your senior year on a sports team is a time dedicated to give it your last shot and make the best out of what you have left of your sports career at Masters. 

“It’s really hard seeing other schools have this season, as it’s supposed to be fun and uplifting. You’re supposed to have your team with you by your side and to not have that just feels like we are missing out,” Abady added.

Since there is no ultimate goal that our teams are working towards, it becomes easier to feel unmotivated and to give less effort during practices. As upperclassmen step into leadership roles, it is difficult to stay focused and continue to push ourselves when there isn’t a game next week, or a loss to rally back from. 

Sophomore and varsity volleyball captain Kayla Shelly ‘said, “We come here five days a week to play and of course, it’s really fun to get to play the sport that you love, but one of the big parts of being an upperclassman is being a leader and taking advantages of games which brings everyone together. Now that has been taken away from us.”

Sports teams use wins and losses to bond – experiencing a tough loss builds a connection within the team and can ignite a spark for the rest of the season.

Many of these bonds are also formed during preseason, which allots time for the team, new and returning, to get into game shape. During this time, teams connect through the hard work required to get game-ready. 

While Masters did make the safe call by putting the fall season on hold, the competition is something my peers and I look forward to every year. It’s hard to accept and confront the idea that we may not play a single game this year.

Teams have tried to make the most out of a difficult situation, although there has been discussion of playing in the Spring. However us student athletes have been left hopeless and fearful scrimmages within our teams may be the most we will get this year in regards to competition levels. As we watch the other schools around us play in their regular season, we are left thinking what makes us different?

Shelley said, “I understand why they had to cancel the season but it still is very disappointing since other schools are playing. I know it’s a difficult time right now but it feels like everything normal is now being taken away and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

As a community we have to accept that the student geographical diversity means playing games would not be practical or safe. As practices continually lack energy, student athletes hope for the school to create some sort of game-like situation. Possible options would be a competition between the boys and girls teams which could act as a senior game.