Spring sports cancellation brings bittersweet feelings

May 1, 2020 — by Angelina Chen
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Senior Alice Lin poses with class of 2019 alumnae Neda Aminzadeh during the previous senior day on March 28, 2019. 

 

 Due to the recent shelter-in-place order, senior athletes are met with lost opportunities in their respective sports.

On the day of senior Eng Kwa’s league championships last year, she had already changed out of his swimsuit when he was notified by varsity swim coach Christian Bonner about the 400-meter freestyle relay. Kwa rushed back into the Palo Alto High School locker room and ran to the starting blocks without time to warm up. After his part in the relay, Kwa collapsed, panting, on the pool deck as his teammates surrounded him, laughing and cheering for the rest of the race.

While the shelter-in-place order may be disappointing to some, the situation is especially tragic for senior athletes — they have lost their last opportunities to make their season memorable, including final meets and senior nights. Many will also miss the people they have met and the bonds they have formed through their sports.

To Kwa, swimming was always a social activity during which he could bond with friends. Due to these circumstances, however, he not only loses his last year of swimming with his friends, but he also misses the thrill of competing in the pool.

“I’ll miss the feeling of overcoming the challenges swimming constantly presents,” Kwa said. “Swimming has always been something I looked forward to because I was able to do something I was good at with my friends.”

Kwa said he will also miss Bonner and the assistant coaches, Yayla Sezginer and Kristen Thomson, as he said they would always help the swimmers achieve their full potential with painful but necessary sets.

Senior Alice Lin, who runs on the girls’ varsity track-and-field team, feels the same way. She said she will especially miss competing at meets since she has come to love the nervous energy that they bring.

“There’s something about competing that makes the team spirit come even more alive,” Lin said. 

Lin’s love for meets is why this season was even more of a tragedy. The runners could not even compete in a single meet this season. 

The seniors will also miss their senior days, the last home meets commemorating the athletes' high school sports careers.

However, the Instagram account @togaspirit, run by the spirit commission, seniors Natalie Tarbox, Nakul Nagaraj, Kaitlyn Thomson and junior Emily Choi, is seeking to give senior athletes the recognition they deserve. They post a photo of each player and explain in the caption a memorable moment they had in their sport.

Tarbox said that the commission thought of the idea when they realized that without senior day, social media could be the only way to celebrate senior athletes.

“We wanted to do something small for the seniors because they have worked hard all season and all four years to get to where they are,” Tarbox said.

The plan is to continue these posts until the end of the school year. Even with the cancellation of spring sports, Kwa is thankful for all the experiences swimming has given him and he looks to the future with a positive view. 

“I’m looking forward to going to college, so I can make new friends and experience a new environment,” Kwa said.

 

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