CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Athletes were waiting in anticipation for IHSA’s decision about fall sports, only to be let down when they heard they would not be able to play this season.
Disappointment set in for athletes when IHSA pushed back the football, volleyball and soccer seasons to the spring because of the pandemic. “We knew it probably was not going to work out, but we all just wanted to play,” said Kianna Berlatsky. It is her senior year at Rantoul Township High School.
This year was her last chance to play volleyball, softball and basketball. “For a lot of people, junior year is your year to get recruited. But senior year is your time to shine,” said Berlatsky. “A lot of people are looking at you. But if you can’t play then no one is going to look at you and that makes it hard for a lot of people to get into those college sports.”
The effects of the pandemic have not stopped. “At my school, you can graduate early. A lot of us were planning to play sports in the fall, but can’t anymore because they’ll be gone by the spring.”
Looking beyond this year, if the pandemic continues, Berlatsky said reality is setting in as she thinks about the future of sports. “It could all get canceled. We may not have a season for anything, which would suck. I don’t see them pushing it back any further if the pandemic continues. I think it’ll just be all over.” In the meantime, between now and when the delayed seasons start, coaches said they will keep doing workouts and practices.
GCMS Football Coach Mike Allen had to break the news of IHSA’s announcement to his team. “The IHSA was in a bad spot with this decision. No one would want to be in the positive to make that decision. But this is a tough thing for the kids to handle. They’re used to doing things. In the fall they have this sport, in the spring they have that sport and they prepare for that.”
He said this will be a lesson for all athletes. “As coaches, we always ask ‘How are you doing to handle adversity?’ Well, we’re about to get a very good test on that.”