Waunakee Athletic Director Aaron May has seen a lot in his time overseeing Warriors sports, but nothing like what he has had to deal with this spring with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has been like nothing I’ve seen before in my athletics career,” May said. “Of course, that can be said about everything as this hasn’t happened in almost 100 years. ADs at all schools have been working hard to understand the different safety guidelines and how it will impact our spring sports, summer off-season, and fall sports which begin practice in August.”
After the Governor’s Safer-at-Home order went into effect, all schools were closed, and the spring sports season was canceled.
One of the toughest parts of the crazy spring has been the unknown. Things change on a daily basis.
“The most challenging portion has been providing effective and clear information to coaches, athletes, and families as the information and guidelines were very fluid and changed quickly,” May said.
The situation is especially tough for this year’s senior class, which never got a chance to compete one final time.
“It is tough for the seniors even the ones who are going on to play in college,” May said. “High school is unique because these kids have been playing with each other for over a decade and everyone dreams of their senior year and having a chance to compete. To have that taken away from very abruptly was difficult. I want to commend our coaches, booster, parents, and athletes on how they’ve handled all of this.”
The hard part for May and athletic directors in Wisconsin is that nobody knows what the fall season will be like if the pandemic continues.
“On Monday, the Forward Dane plan was released, and we are still reviewing it and how it will impact athletics,” May said.
Even if there is a fall season, it may look very different than past.
“It will look different, but it is too early for me to comment on exactly how,” May said.
May does feel there will be some changes for the better.
“I think just a general better understanding and concern for when you are feeling ill and how trying to power through isn’t always the best idea,” May said.
The WIAA is allowing for a 30-day contact period for all spring sports this summer, but the Badger Conference will not be participating.
In a statement released on May 14, Brian Hammil, the president of Badger Conference Athletic Directors, said the conference will not participate in the extended spring sports season as allowed by the WIAA.
“We express our sadness for our student-athletes and coaches who have worked so hard in preparation of the season,” Hammil said. “This decision will allow closure for our seniors and we wish them the best of luck moving forward.”
May says Waunakee will follow the rest of the conference.