Winter athletes react to canceled, postponed games, adapt to uncertain circumstances

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Olivia Mckee

Junior Connor Lathrop swims the freestyle stroke at the 91st Ohio Valley Championships in 2019. Lathrop said he finds the cancelling of recent swim meets to show that the IHSAA is still uncertain of having a sectional or state championship. Head Coach Chris Plumb said the team has not been able to travel as much as in the past.

Austin Guo

On Nov. 23, Brooklynn Edwards, point guard on the varsity women’s basketball team and junior, was practicing with the team when her coach announced that its game against Noblesville, which was scheduled for the next day, had been postponed.

“For Noblesville, when we heard about that one, we were all just shocked, especially because we were like, ‘Whoa, that was at short notice,’” Edwards said about the cancelation. “ I think we were all shocked, but at the same time we couldn’t be too surprised because we knew it was probably going to happen at some point, but it was upsetting.” 

In addition, Edwards found out that her game against Brownsburg on Dec. 11 had been postponed the day the game was scheduled to take place. Edwards said the Brownsburg announcement was even more upsetting because the game against Brownsburg was going to be Carmel’s game for senior night.

Edwards said, “We literally found out at 8 a.m. that morning, so I think that also made it worse.”

Numerous other athletes have also experienced cancelations, but even athletes who have been fortunate enough to not have any competitions canceled said they still feel uncertainty about their seasons, especially during this winter when COVID-19 is more severe. The swimming teams have not had any competitions be canceled so far, but swimmers like junior Connor Lathrop said they still do not know whether or not future competitions will take place.

Lathrop said, “The more the competition approaches, the better chance it’s not going to get canceled, but we don’t know if we’re going to have a Sectional championship or State championship, which is a massive let-down. We’re hoping IHSAA will figure something out.”

Lathrop still has not been able to avoid cancelations entirely. Lathrop, aside from competing in the high school swim team, also swims for the Carmel Swim Club (CSC). Lathrop said he and the swimmers on CSC have not been able to participate in many tournaments.

Chris Plumb, head coach of both the school swim team and CSC, said about CSC via email, “Our meet schedule has changed dramatically. We have only had local meets. In the past, we would have traveled to other cities to compete and that has not happened this year.”

Still, while she said the cancelation of basketball games upset her, Edwards said the players did have an opportunity to rest and regroup because they were not playing those games. 

“We have a pretty tough schedule. We consider it one of the toughest schedules in the state. We don’t have many games where it’s a break or that we’re not too concerned about. Most of our games are against very good teams. Getting that break and being able to slow down and settle down and have a practice and regroup … Those games getting canceled gave us that opportunity,” Edwards said.

 

In the face of their inability to attend some competitions, athletes and coaches have come up with alternative ways to compete. When one of Edwards’ basketball tournaments was canceled, for example, her coach and a coach from a different team decided to arrange their own match.

Edwards said, “There was a tournament thing we were supposed to do in Cincinnati and they canceled it, but with one of the teams we were supposed to play we both agreed that we would still play so we still went up there and we still played that team. We just didn’t play in the tournament because the tournament was canceled, but we still found a way to play that team.”

Lathrop said he has also found alternative competitions when

 his tournaments with CSC are canceled.

“We usually have a big taper meet in December where we go down to Nashville, but we weren’t able to do that this year, so we just did our own taper meet at Carmel,” Lathrop said. “We didn’t even know if that was going to be possible, but we have just been doing dual meets with ourselves, almost, where everyone just swims the 100s, everyone swims the 200s.”

Plumb said the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought to sports seasons has made athletes and coaches appreciate the competitions that do happen.

Plumb said, “We try to make each competition really matter because you never know when your last meet will be.  The uncertainty of it all is a challenge but we just try to take it day by day and focus on our controllable.”

Overall, Lathrop said he commends organizers and coaches for being able to hold competitions and allow these seasons to take place.

Lathrop said, “I think organizers have done a really good job of doing what they can, especially my coaches: Chris Plumb, Rhiannon Sheets, and Chris Pfaff. They’ve all put in a ton of time into creating the practice schedule, creating these meets, and staying up with the teams. Usually, (the meets) are pre-determined and it takes five minutes to set up a meet, but it’s taken them days and weeks to set up a dual meet that’ll last three hours, so if I would say anything, I would applaud them on that.”

To read a story about changes to spectators at games/meets, click here: Athletes remark on new regulations for spectators at games, reflect on pros, cons – HiLite

To read stories about NFL games being cancelled/postponed this season click here: NFL schedule: List of games rescheduled due to COVID-19 – Sports Illustrated

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