Wild ride

Now that the IHSA has green-lighted seasons delayed by COVID-19, student athletes and coaches juggle interfering athletic commitments this spring


Mackenzie Sroka

The girls basketball team practices in Buckner Gym at West Campus on March 3 while other athletes train in the weight room. Two- and three-season athletes have had to make tough decisions about which sports to play — and which not to play — during overlapping seasons.

Madison Harvey, Staff Writer

The weight room slowly fills up with athletes who stretch and prepare for practice. The coach comes in and begins the training, requesting that they focus in and work hard. This seems like a simple task, but some of the athletes can’t help but worry about rushing to their next practice. Their mind strays into a panic, and suddenly their focus is on the stress of the future, rather than the present. 

With the spring sports season quickly approaching, many multi-sport athletes are left questioning the future of their athletics. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, sports seasons have been modified, and the spring and summer seasons interfere with one another. 

Spring sports will take place from the beginning of March until the end of April, and summer sports will be from the beginning of April to the middle of June. Meaning that throughout the entire month of April, student athletes in both a spring and summer sport will have to play in both at the same time, which is a challenging task. Balancing two in-school sports, school, and club sports makes the students day stretched thin with little time to themselves.

MCHS Athletic Director Barry Burmeister says, “Ultimately it is up to the student/athletes to choose where they want to concentrate their time.” For some athletes, the decision will be obvious, but others will have a harder time. Many students will struggle picking one over the other due to the love for both sports.

Sophomore Cooper Ten Bruin plays both volleyball and softball for MCHS, as well as travel softball outside of school. During this time, her schedule has become quite hectic. Lifting sessions, practices, and contact days for different teams overlapping . 

“For me right now,” Ten Bruin says, “lifting is what is the most conflict. One is right after the other so I have to choose which one to go to. I would go to both but I already have Strength during the day and it’s a lot on my body to lift 3 times a day and then have practice later.” 

Club sports also pose a threat to athletes’ eligibility. In a typical year, student athletes would not be able to play the same sport in high school and club simultaneously. However, the IHSA has voted to change this rule due to COVID and the adjusted seasons. 

The athletic department and coaches have been working together to plan a smooth season for everyone involved. “What we have found so far with the winter sports is that it is like a wild amusement park ride,” Burmeister adds. “Really fast, a lot of ups and downs, spins, and we just need to buckle our seatbelts and hold on because it will be over quick!” 

Senior Lauren Sena, another athlete with overlapping seasons, is currently committed to play Division I softball at Valparaiso University in Indiana, but she also values her participation in volleyball. “I’m really excited to just get the chance to play with all of my teammates and have a good season together, however it will look,” she expresses. 

Many student athletes at MCHS share Sena’s mindset of gratitude. It doesn’t matter how they have to play their sport, or how many they have to play at once, they get to play and that’s more than enough.