How Coaches Are Handling Season Cancellations

Shianna Casey, Reporter


From March Madness being cancelled, to right here at home in Fruita, Colorado, COVID-19 has shut down all things sports-related. Luckily, the winter sports seasons concluded strong, unlike the spring athletes who hardly even got to start. Spring sports such as track and field, golf, girls tennis, soccer, and lacrosse, and boys swimming and diving, were just beginning when the worst of COVID-19 struck. 

For track coach and Spanish teacher at Fruita Monument High School, Steele Pavlovsky, the hardest thing about cancelling this season has been losing his last year with his seniors. “I am mostly sad for my seniors. They work so hard for years to be an upperclassman, and now they don’t get to take on that role of being a leader,” said Pavlovsky. “I am sad I don’t get to see them improve. That is the best part of track for sure. Kids push themselves and make themselves better. You get to compete against yourself everyday.”. 

To keep his athletes up and active, Pavlovsky makes posts to their Google Classroom encouraging them to get up and moving, and to stay healthy, and concludes with, “[o]ne thing that we can learn from this situation as a team is to just enjoy practice and the chance to be together. I never saw anything like this.”

Western Colorado Community College EMR instructor Darren Oxford, who is also a little league coach for the Grand Valley Raptors Baseball team is feeling the loss of his team. “It’s been hard on me for sure. I have coached the same core of boys (6 of them) for the last 8 years, and this was the final year I was able to coach them before they head into high school. It was also the last opportunity to be out on the field with my son,” said Oxford. He adds that he is not concerned about future seasons because they “have been playing long enough that they most likely won’t miss a beat moving into high school season next year.” 

Oxford adds, “I think we can learn to appreciate and love the game that sometimes becomes complacent. Going to practice and tournaments sometimes gets to be old, but then when it’s taken away from you, you realize how much it means to you and what part of your life it fills.”

Skyler Hirsch, former All-Conference swimmer at Colorado Mesa University, and coach of 10 years has been devastated by the loss of the 2019-2020 boys swim season. Hirsch has been coaching both girls and boys Fruita Monument High School swim teams for the last two seasons. “The worst part for me as a coach is not being able to see the kids I support and care about and make changes in their lives to better them as athletes and students,” says Hirsch. 

He also added that in order to encourage and help his team stay active during these trying times, he has sent them multiple dryland workouts, and continues to remind them of their own goals. “Coaches can talk all day but it’s really going to be the athletes decision to stay active and determined to reach their goals.” 

Continuing, Hirsch says he doesn’t think that the 2020-2021 season will look much different, due to the fact that most of his swimmers do not train year-round. Although he does not foresee a huge loss in performance, he claims to see a major loss in team cohesiveness. “We had two very solid team captains that now won’t get to help mold the future of the team. We probably won’t have a captain next year with a lack of leadership already. We are going to have to rebuild that discipline we expect from our kids.” 

Hirsch believes that there is much to be learned through this experience for both himself and his team. “I think that everyone can learn not to take everything for granted. We take for granted our sports, friends, family, and lifestyle everyday. It should not take a pandemic for us to realize what we have.” Hirsch also adds that as for himself, he has reached out to friends, family, and athletes to let them know that he cares about them. “I have really just been focused on taking care of my body with the time I have. We get so caught up in ‘time’ and not having enough of it. Now we have all the time in the world. There is no longer an excuse of being ‘too busy.” Hirsch concludes. 

There is no denying that sports are a very definitive part of the world we live in, and our American culture. Although this is just a temporary situation, it is also something that will leave a lasting mark on athletes and coaches, as well as how they move forward for many sports seasons to come.