In the history books, the 2020 spring sport season will officially go down as a season that did not happen.
The NSAA officially cancelled the spring sports season on Thursday, April 2nd after the governor declared that schools must operate with no students through May 31st.
As many can imagine, this news came as heartbreaking for coaches, parents and players, especially the seniors that will not get to play their final season.
“Well it is definitely a sad situation that everyone is in and the kids are going through a rough time,” Gretna boys golf head coach Scott Boehler said.
“When the season is officially over and reality hits they lose a year of competition. It has been a waiting game for the most part and hoping things get better but overall, it has been pretty rough for kids, coaches, parents and families.
Like most, coach Boehler felt especially sorry for the seniors.
“At this point in time it’s just sad,” Boehler said. “It is a tough year for them because they can’t compete in their final season of sports.”
Gretna boys’ soccer coach Tyler Ortlieb shared similar sentiments as coach Boehler about the news from the NSAA.
“To put it into one word, challenging,” Ortlieb said. “Typically, right now we are dealing with X’s and O’s and right now, we can’t touch any of those so it’s been challenging to be honest.
“It’s a hopeless feeling. There was nothing I can do, there was nothing their parents could do and there was nothing they could do.
“For (the seniors), it is just thanking them for what they have contributed to the program over the last few years and it was tough. When you lose a game, whether it is at the state tournament or something else, you lost.
“Here, it never began and that’s what has left an empty pit in everyone’s stomach.”
Unlike collegiate athletes, there is no scenario where high school seniors could get an extra year of eligibility and that makes it hard to not feel sympathetic towards those athletes.
Platteview boys’ soccer coach Mark McLaughlin said he knew things were grim “when college basketball conference tournaments started getting cancelled, not postponed, they were just flat out cancelled,”
“When they are cancelling large scale events like that you are talking about millions of dollars of revenue for universities and conferences. When they are cancelled stuff like that, it is not a good sign.”
The decision to cancel Nebraska’s spring sports season, McLaughlin said, canceling the seasons may not be a popular decision but clearly “best for our athletes and students.”
McLaughlin voiced great admiration and praise for the Platteview senior class.
“Every once and again, and I truly believe that especially coming from where I came from in central Nebraska, every once and a while you get a class that has a chance to change the course of the program. It’s a special class and it might be once every 10 years,” he said.
“We had it in football this year. A big senior class that was talented and we had it in soccer this year. We had nine seniors and pretty talented team.
“The hardest part is they are never going to know and you can’t fix that or change it.”
McLaughlin said he told his seniors that if the Trojans win a Trailblazer Conference title next season, their names will belong on the plaque, too.
Bellevue East boys golf coach and basketball coach Chad Mustard shared similar sentiments.
“It’s disappointing for the kids,” Mustard said. “As a coach and a teacher I will have more kids to coach and teach, but the kids have a limited amount of opportunities and it stinks they have to miss that.
“It is a necessity and I totally understand it, but it just stinks for those kids.
“It is disappointing but they understand. They want to keep people safe and do what is best for the greater good.”
Papio South baseball coach Bill Lynam was disappointed by the news but has hope for a possible American Legion baseball season over the summer.
“You just feel bad for the players,” he said. “They put a lot of time and effort into offseason skill work and conditioning.
“We started practice and were about a week away from our first game. Then the NSAA made the decision to suspend and ultimately cancel the season.
“It was probably the right decision but no one wanted to hear it. It is just something we can’t control. We felt sorry for (the seniors) and bad but we still have hope for a Legion baseball season this summer.”