Spring sports return for 2021 season

This past March, spring sports across Alabama came to a screeching halt as schools shut down because of school closures because of the onset of the coronavirus. Thousands of high school senior baseball, softball, soccer, golf, track and tennis players saw their careers come to an unceremonious end – which to many seems hardly fair or reasonable, in light of the world now knows about the spread of the virus.

One year later, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has been able to complete fall sports championships and are beginning winter sports championships.

As the excitement begins to build for teams getting ready to take the field for the first time in more than a year, it is hard for coaches not to reflect on how the past season came to an end.

“The way last year ended was rough and bad on all kids, especially seniors,” said Phil Campbell baseball coach Johnathan Raper. “We were having such a good season last year, and we had some high expectations. I get it, but I just hated it the way it ended for our seniors. There is a lot of anticipation and excitement from our guys as we get started back and get closer to being back to normal.

Belgreen softball coach Susie Tverberg lost five seniors off of the past year’s team, and it still hits her hard.

“It seems like forever since we played,” said Tverberg. “When the season ended so abruptly, we kept thinking we might get to finish it sometime, but as time went on, it became clear we were done.

“It was so sad. While we are excited to get going this year, it is hard not to still feel bad for those seniors who never got any closure.

While the stoppage of play affected seniors emotionally, it was also a lot of lost time and experience for younger players.

“I thought we had a shot to go to playoffs last year,” said Tharptown baseball coach Shannon Benford. “We were just getting in a groove, and then things shut down. Not only did the shutdown hurt seniors, but it especially hurt young players not getting the experience they need.”

After a week of snow and ice and rain, teams will try to take the field for the first time this week.