Under normal circumstances, there would be a cold rain in the forecast threatening to alter another slate of spring sports.
Unfortunately for spring sports athletes, the WIAA has canceled the 2020 spring sports season in accordance with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ safer-at-home order, which canceled all in-person classes for schools and prohibits use of public school facilities through June 30. The cancellations were made to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus responsible for infecting people with covid-19.
In a sacrifice designed to save human lives, athletes have lost out on a season of athletics. For most, it’s the last time they’ll play organized team sports at a competitive level.
Many of the lessons learned in previous seasons are being put to good use this spring, according to Lakeside Lutheran softball coach Matt Doering.
“When talking with players and coaches we have stayed with something we talk a lot about every year,” Doering said. “That is that we have to control the controllables and then realize there are things out of our control. So I have tried to keep that message at the forefront. We have no control over this so we need to stay positive and look forward to see what opportunities for our team might be on the horizon.
“We also talk a lot about priorities. Sports are certainly something we enjoy, but God is in control and we have to keep moving and enjoy the opportunities we have.”
Though the coronavirus pandemic did take away their senior seasons, they still have cherished memories from previous seasons. The Lake Mills softball team has put together a historic stretch of success the last two seasons — it’s safe to assume this year would have been a continuation.
The Lake Mills baseball team — which was the No. 1 seed in a WIAA Division 2 regional last year with Jefferson, Fort Atkinson, Walworth Big Foot and Elkhorn — would have opened the 2020 season as the 12th ranked team in Division 2 by the Baseball Wisconsin Yearbook.
Instead of creating new memories, Lake Mills coach Justin Annen has had to settle for virtual meetings with the players sharing their favorite memories of their careers cut one season shorter than anyone would have preferred.
“I have a virtual meeting set up for this week with all of the players,” Annen said. “Last week, I had (a virtual meeting) with all of the seniors and we talked about some of our favorite Lake Mills baseball memories.
“The memory that was the favorite overall was winning conference last year. I would have to agree with that. … Each year is special and brings something new. During my time in Lake Mills, the senior classes have always been great leaders and I knew this was going to be another class to represent Lake Mills well on and off the field.”
Representing their respective schools and their communities doesn’t end because sports have been canceled.
“We have four seniors — Ryann Burger, Grace Thomas, Ally Murray and Emma Berg — all 4 have multiple years of varsity experience,” Doering said. “I certainly feel a bit sad for them, but at the same time I am so proud of them and all our athletes. I have all four of them in class and all seem to be handling this well.
“I am proud of their focus and behavior as students and young mature Christian ladies. Hopefully we can find a unique way to recognize them and their contributions to the Warrior softball family over the last four years.”