[Editor’s note: On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown officially closed schools to in-person learning for the rest of the school year. That led the Oregon School Activities Association, which had been holding out hope of playing an abbreviated schedule sometime in the spring, to cancel all remaining spring activities and the spring state championships. We surveyed Oregon coaches of spring sports yesterday and asked them what they told their teams after learning the news. We received an overwhelming response, a sample of which we reproduce below]
You can look at this and spend a lot of time being disheartened, or you can choose to look at it through a positive light. Good, I get an opportunity to spend significantly more time with my family. Good, I can use this time to really get healthy, work out hard, and get bigger, faster, and stronger. Good, I can use this experience to chase passions I’ve never had time to chase previously. Good, I now have the freedom to reflect on my life, remove influences that don’t make me better, and cherish those that do. The goal for baseball has always been to help us become excellent future fathers, husbands, and community members, and there’s no reason we can’t use this spring to continue that work. – Jesse Price, South Salem Baseball
This is a hard email to write. The season is officially over. We've expected this reality but it hits hard when it's official and final.
We will grieve over what could have been, what would have been, the podiums that remain empty, the dreams that have to be delayed or remain as dreams, the thrills of missed victories, the lessons learned from successes and failures.
I shed tears as I write this.
How do we make lemonade out of lemons?
We have to look around and count our blessings. We are healthy. We still have those dreams. We have family who loves us. We can turn this disappointment into motivation for bigger achievements to come. Life tosses us lemons. The "lemonade" we make from this challenge can help us get through the inevitable rough spots in our future. Although painful, we will learn from this experience.
Hang in there everyone. Stay healthy, keep the dream alive, stay in condition and return the love you get from those who care for and support you.
With heavy hearts and significant hope… -- Terrel Smith, Sherwood Track & Field
Keep your heads up. We deal with adversity. We face it head on. It's what makes baseball players great! We will be on the field again. We will get past this and we will be ready when our next time comes. This is the kind of thing that baseball prepares us for in life. When something goes bad, it does not mean we hang our heads and give up. We don't blame others, and we don't dwell on what we can't control. We prepare for the next play. We face it as a team and we pick each other up. The next play looks different for many of us....but we most certainly will face them as a team and as a family. The great part about family is it never goes away, not in the good times or the bad.
I will be in touch soon with more as we learn about moving ahead. Keep your heads up and make your next play/decision with a calm mind and clear vision. That's what Champions do. – Parker McKinley, La Grande Baseball
Our time together was short this year, but I want you to know how proud I am of all of you. You are a tremendous group of athletes who have persevered through the most bizarre of times. I am continually impressed by your tenacity. Thank you for being yourselves and for making me one proud coach. What a season we would have had!
Seniors: I know this is not how we planned to end this year. You have every right to be upset, frustrated, and disappointed. You deserve so much more than this, and yes, it was YOUR year! That said, you are all champions in my book. You leave a legacy of hope and what could possibly be. Let this be a reminder to make every moment count in your life. You never know what’s coming tomorrow. Hold your head high, stay true to yourself, and be proud of all you’ve accomplished. I am so proud of each of you. It was the honor of a lifetime to be your coach. Once a Hilander, always a Hilander. – Josh Paul, Burns Track & Field
Baseball is a game of opportunity, more similar to life than any other sport. We constantly talk about toughness through adversity in our program and having the ability to put others before ourselves. This unprecedented situation that has occurred is testing our will and our selflessness on levels we never could have imagined. Losing out on memories with teammates you've worked so hard with is hard. Not being able to compete during your last spring as a high school player is hard. Not getting to enjoy senior night, playoff baseball, and having friends and family watch you from the stands is hard. However, no matter how hard this might be, baseball has prepared you for this. This humbling game has shown us how to deal with adversity over and over again. Baseball has shown us that our ability to have a "next pitch" mindset will set us up to be successful in life. Baseball has shown us that being a great teammate and putting others before ourselves will set us up to be successful in life. Baseball has shown us that tough times don't last, but tough people do. Tough people are successful in life. You are all tough and selfless young men, and I cannot wait to see the leaders you will become in life. – CJ Watson, Lincoln Baseball
Decker and Jegtvig I am sorry you lost your opportunity to see your commitment and hard work this off season pay off. You both have been here since I have been here team #4 . You trusted the system and listened. You both bought in since day one and it paid off both being all league and all state selections. More than that it’s being unselfish and putting the team first. Playing where the team needed you to play, showing up at 6am on Saturday Mornings to help prep fields so we could get games in, and helping set up and take down practice . That’s what winners do! They think of others before themselves! Especially this year! I have a heavy heart as I wanted to see the three years of hard work earn you a tremendous senior year. I know it would have been. Great things would have happened. So thank you seniors. Remember you both left the Thunderdome better than you found it. – Heather Holte, Thurston Softball
I’m writing with a heavy heart. By now you have probably heard the OSAA has canceled spring sports. No more baseball this year. This certainly is not what we wanted. Absolutely isn’t something we would choose. I wrote to you last week to keep working, keep hitting, keep throwing, keep running. To keep LIVING because otherwise we are just existing. Even with our season gone, with what we knew was going to be a special year taken away, I want to encourage you in the same way. We have no control over what is happening in our world and with our government. We do however have control over the very last of human freedoms. The ability to choose our attitude and response in any situation. It’s OK to be disappointed. Don’t allow it to turn to discouragement. It’s ok to feel the emotions you are having. Don’t let emotions dictate your actions. Keep moving, keep working. Underclassmen, we are still working to have a summer season. We may be disappointed in that as well, but I have control over preparation for summer. I refuse to let that which I cannot control impact what I can control. Seniors, I don’t even have words. You are a special group and the hardest part of this whole mess is that we don’t get to see what you would accomplish this year. I love you guys and I’m so proud of the way you prepared and led through the winter and early spring. We definitely had talent coming into this season but what made this group has been your mentality and willingness to prepare and grow as leaders…It’s hard to not think, “Why us?”. But the thought comes to my mind, “Why not us?” We’ve been amazingly blessed through the years. Maybe we are the people God knew could handle this mess and be light for him. We can use the character we’ve built in our lives to lift someone up who is having a rough time. Stand up. We are the men of Santiam Christian. We are God’s message to a very confused world.
God Bless You Guys. – Matt Nosack, Santiam Christian Baseball
I just want to send over a very big thank you to each and every one of you. It's heartbreaking to know that I'll never get to watch you compete in Lincoln Cardinal Red again but I take solace in the fact that I got to work with you in the first place. You've all been instrumental in helping to create this amazing environment and I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with all of you. Self admitted, I know that I'm not the easiest coach as I demand the most out of you but each one of you has never failed to rise to that challenge and for that I'm grateful. I have so much love for this group and can't wait to watch you all grow into incredible adults.
"The greatest thing in life is not is never having fallen but in rising up again." – Eric Dettman, Lincoln Track & Field
I miss you all and am sad that I can't see your smiling faces every day. I am sure you have all heard by now that spring sports has been cancelled for the remainder of the school year. This can be hard to accept and I am sure you all have a wide range of emotions about this, among everything else right now. I encourage you to sit with those emotions. They are natural to have. Let it stir you. Bring them to God. Talk it out with Him.
These can be trying times, but you guys are so tough and have already shown all your coaches, teachers, and peers how resilient you are. Be strong and focus on positive things. Take notice of the good things that you may not see when life is going 100 miles per hour. Continue to get outside and exercise. That is so valuable right now. We are all proud of how well you have handled everything so far. Keep it up; you got this!
To the Seniors:
I am going to miss watching you run, jump, hurdle, and throw this year. For some, you were trying to make State for the first time or improve on your podium finish at State or Districts. Some were trying to make varsity or enjoy the last workouts and meets with friends to create lasting memories. It doesn't seem fair that that was taken from you. The coaches are all proud of everything you have done and the leadership you have shown and grown into through the years. Praying that you all stay strong and focus on the positive memories during this time. It's certainly not what you imagined or probably wanted, but good things can come from this and make you stronger. Stay connected to your friends. Enjoy and embrace this time with your family.
Peace to you all during this time. -- Mikel Rathman, La Salle Prep Track & Field
The biggest shame in all of this is our four seniors do not get a chance to compete this spring. My senior spring is one of the greatest memories of my life and my heart is broken for them. The prospect of our season looked high and they would have been the leaders and drivers of that. If you can reach out to them at some point in the next week that would be huge. I don't care if you have never spoken to them or don't know them very much. Just say thank you to them for what they have given our program. At some point we will honor them appropriately and send them forward to their next stop. Once a Lava Bear, Always a Lava Bear.
Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Honestly, when this news came out yesterday, I moped around the house a little. I was feeling sorry for myself. I think it's okay. This is a big deal. Take a moment and live in the sorrow. It is healthy to do that. But then we gotta get back on that horse! Life is not what happens to you; it's how you respond. Lava Bears respond appropriately! All storms will pass. It's how you weather them that matters. This is a time where all of the things that we have been talking about come to the surface and we see what we are about. Who do you want to be on June 1? (or whenever our comeback date is). Take advantage of this down time! One sad truth is that those juniors who were trying to win a varsity spot, or those sophomores who thought there was a chance or those freshmen who wanted to prove themselves didn't get the opportunity to do so! This means there will be a log jam next year! That means you have to work that much harder during this time. You are always being evaluated. So don't be discouraged for too long. Flush it and move on.
The struggle is good
Thriving not surviving
I miss you... a lot -- Quinn Clair, Bend Baseball
Athletes and Parents,
I hope you are doing well and are healthy. We have much to be thankful for in this hard time. Unfortunately, this year's track season isn't one of them. As expected, with the governor's announcement that schools would remain closed for the duration of this academic year, the OSAA has canceled the track season. I feel terrible for all of you, but I feel even worse for our seniors. Fortunately Madi, Blake and Kyle all had the chance to experience state last year. I'm also bummed that I will never know just how fast Keika and Ma are or how far Ma would have jumped. Hopefully we'll get to see Ma in action next year. Probably the thing I will miss most, other than just being with each of you daily, is seeing the improvement that each of you would have made. It's so fun to watch you develop as athletes and people. Just saying this makes me excited for next year.
But, whatever the reason, we aren't going to have the chance for these things this year. It's certainly OK to be sad and disappointed. I am. At the same time it is important to remember that as Christians we are told in scripture that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. The ultimate goal is to follow Jesus, and track is just one thing that God has given us in which we can serve Him. Grieve the loss of the season, but don't let your grief keep you from enjoying God's many and bountiful blessings. Get out and be active enjoying the abilities that God has given you (while following distancing guidelines). Enjoy the weather, your health, your family, your physical blessings, and most of all your salvation…Thanks for blessing me with the opportunity to coach each of you. I will miss you. – Andrew Jannsen, Portland Christian Track & Field
I know this is so incredibly hard and crushing - for the seniors who were going to compete in their final season in particular - to everyone who had big hopes and dreams.
I feel for everyone - I know this hurts a lot. I know many of you were going to do great things to season and those moments are lost.
This time period we are all in - and it is global - from a sports perspective the NBA, NCAA, high school sports, The Olympics - everyone is impacted in some way.
I will continue to send workouts out each Sunday - hoping it helps with motivation - try to keep training for the next 6 weeks and have some time trials or your calendar. Set some goals so you have something to work towards. Get your family out there to cheer you on, time you in an event, measure a jump or a throw.
Keep up your daily training routine for the rest of the spring. You can have virtual competitions with others on the team.
Challenge a teammate to a 400m run and share your times with each other as way to compete.
Do your best to keep your head high - remember the moments you did have - and in life and in sports - there will be more moments ahead - albeit delayed for a bit. – Jason Jacobson, Scio Track & Field
It is difficult for me to express the gut-wrenching emotions that I am feeling with the cancellation of spring sport activities. My heart goes out to all of the players and parents who have lost the opportunity to compete alongside their teammates and cheer with their friends. I am truly blessed to coach in this program with players who are respectful and reliable, and parents who are supportive and enthusiastic fans. I especially feel for the seniors whom I have been fortunate to have coached since their freshman season. You, more than any other former players or coaches, have made my transition from JV to Varsity Coach seamless and exciting. You have made me, your parents, your school, and your community proud. Your accomplishments in the sport and in the classroom over the last several seasons speak to your hard-work, determination, and dedication to winning habits. Thank you and your parents for allowing me these experiences. There is nothing I have wanted more than to have coached your senior season and proudly watch you perform and compete in the sport you have excelled at. Stay healthy, active, and safe. -- Glen Fromwiller, Astoria Baseball
We are earning a PhD in adversity and resilience. There’s going to be one heck of an alumni game some day. - Erich Harjo, Hood River Valley Baseball