By Matt Weymer
Governor DeWine’s announcement today that schools will not reopen this year means that the 2020 baseball season is canceled. While I understand the necessity for this unprecedented action, I am devastated for all of those in our area and our state who endlessly love the game of baseball.
Coaching has provided me the privilege of being around so many talented student-athletes. Each graduating class leaves with stories of tremendous victories and crippling defeats. For some, the phrase “what could have been” is used to underscore an opportunity that for one reason or another never materialized.
Our 2020 season was going to feature 8 young men who have given so much to me, their teammates and Ursuline High School baseball over the past four years. Their commitment to improving themselves as players and individuals has been observed during practice, at community service events, and in the classroom. No matter the obstacles placed in front of them, they represented our program, their families, and their school with unmatched dignity. This spring was supposed to be a culmination of all their hard work. The challenges of the last three seasons were destined to pay off. They, along with their teammates, were going to put a banner on the gym wall. Instead, we will always be left with “what could have been”.
Our seniors are not the only ones impacted by these unfortunate circumstances. I feel bad for the parents in our program who have become accustomed to watching their sons play baseball all over our Valley (despite the unpredictable weather). I feel bad for our underclassmen who have lost a year of experience and the enjoyment of being with friends during competition. I feel bad for our coaches who worked in the offseason to get our players ready.
I was lamenting this situation recently to a friend. I told him our program was very much looking forward to this season and how disappointed I was that our seniors were probably not going to have an opportunity to author the last chapter of their baseball story. While he understood my frustration, he said that the most important thing is that they will still get to write the rest of their “story” after high school baseball.
So, that is how I will choose to remember the “lost season” of 2020. It is a skipped chapter in a very long book. When this health crisis passes, we will resume the story of Ursuline Irish baseball. I know our coaches and returning players will be eager to write chapters filled by stories of success and I know our families will be excited for the return to normalcy that comes from their kids participating in high school athletics.
To those 8 young men who will be leaving, thank you. Thank you for giving our baseball program four years of dedication and unforgettable memories. I hope that your entire experience at Ursuline High School has prepared you for whatever comes next in your life. Each of you will always have a place in our dugout. As far as “what could have been” in 2020, no one will ever know. However, I would have loved our chances with each of you wearing the green and gold.
I love you all.