Opinion: Putting a pause on senior year expectations

Missed opportunity: Victoria Gardey '20 passing the baton to Jenna Clark '20 during the 4X800 meter relay. Seniors who run track this year may not get the opportunity to do what they love because of the stay-at-home initiative.

Photo courtesy of Steve Zaranek

Missed opportunity: Victoria Gardey '20 passing the baton to Jenna Clark '20 during the 4X800 meter relay. Seniors who run track this year may not get the opportunity to do what they love because of the stay-at-home initiative.

Victoria Gardey '20, Online Editor in Chief

As my feet hit the pavement it seems quiet. Something is missing. On the familiar Moross loop and laps of the track, I am alone. Fisher is eerily empty even as I pass by at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.
Just a week ago, I was surrounded by 100 of my best friends every day after school. Leaving practice on Thursday, nothing felt different. But by 11 p.m. that night, it seemed everything in my world had crashed.
When I saw schools had closed for 3 weeks, my heart dropped. The first thing I thought of was track. Coming into my eighth and final season of cross country and track as a team captain, I had looked forward to so many things. This team is my family. I would not be who I am today without them.
Now, I feel helpless. With MHSAA not allowing any contact between teams, I am forced to run and condition alone. Something doesn’t feel right hearing only one set of footsteps on the sidewalk where usually there would be nearly 100.
I am still hoping for the best. As of right now, my season is still set to go on after we get back to school. I can only hope something turns around with this virus. However, I also have to be realistic and know that I might never get to have my name announced on senior day. And I may never get to lead the team in our team chant. But that’s ok with me. I’ve realized that this is about something bigger than my own wants. If missing a track season means saving lives, then that’s just fine with me. We are all being asked to make sacrifices here and being asked to stay in my house is far from the worst thing that could happen to me.
While I was running this morning one of the songs from last season’s highlights video came on. I was reminded then of all my memories with this team. I remembered hugging my friends after a tough race. How it feels to beat North by one point. Screaming at the top of my lungs for my teammates. I realized I wasn’t really alone. As long as I know my team is still there to support me I can never really be alone. I’ll always carry a piece of my team with me.
To my team, I just want you guys to know how much I miss you all. I also want you to keep up hope. Know that we are all hoping to be back together again soon.
Last week, I asked one of my friends what I would do if the whole season was canceled. Her answer surprised me. Nothing, she said. You’ll still have ended last year on a high note. You’ll end with the satisfaction of knowing you gave every bit of yourself to the team and didn’t hold back or wait for this year.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what she said. She’s right. Of course, I will still be deeply disappointed and crushed if the entire season is canceled but I will still know that I was changed by this team. And I will still have my best friends. There’s nothing more I could ask for.