The importance of not taking high school sports for granted

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, the MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association) made the decision to cancel all spring sports. This was devastating for high school athletes from across the state, as many athletes had been training for months during the off season to prepare. Despite the frustration many student athletes faced, canceling spring sports helped keep the players and community safe, and COVID-19 transmissions down. The decision to cancel spring sports did not only impact many of my peers and the many student athletes in Michigan, but it also impacted me. 

I have been on the BHHS Varsity A Girls Tennis Team since freshman year. This is one of my favorite extracurricular activities, and tennis season was definitely the highlight of my freshman year. Going into my sophomore year, I was practicing very hard for the spring 2020 season and was looking forward to having the opportunity to compete again. However, when tennis season arrived that spring, we only made it through the first day of practice, and then the season was unfortunately canceled to stop the spread of COVID-19. This decision was, of course, devastating for myself and thousands of others across Michigan and many more athletes around the nation. 

It has now been a year since my tennis season was cancelled, and I can say that I learned a lot from this experience. Before tennis season was cancelled last year, I never truly realized how much the sport and my teammates meant to me. Like the rest of my team, I was occupied with schoolwork, friends and family, and other extracurriculars. I never had the time to truly appreciate what a great opportunity it is to be able to play on one of the best tennis teams in the state. The thought of not having the opportunity to play for an entire season never once crossed my mind, so I definitely took aspects of my freshman season for granted. The spirit bags, team dinners, practices, matches, and the state competition were some of my favorite aspects of the season, just to name a few. Once COVID-19 hit, I began to really appreciate the experiences I had during freshman year and wished that I could only get them back, even if it was just one match. 

We often don’t think about the amazing opportunities we have, such as being able to play high school tennis, but when we’re not able to participate anymore, we come to cherish the memories we had and will do anything to get them back. 

This tennis season, I am going to appreciate everything so much more than I would have if COVID-19 never existed because I know that I only have two seasons left, and the experiences during tennis season are unlike anything I will ever experience again. During every practice, match, and team bonding event, I will never take one second of it for granted because I now know that what I love so much can be taken away from me before I even realize it.