Last Thursday, March 19, the baseball team and I played Mount Vernon. Although we fought really hard and played well, we lost. However, the mood in the dugout was much more somber than it would have been after a normal loss. The GHSA had just suspended all sporting activities for two weeks.
Like clockwork, school was also suspended for two weeks. I am not normally the type who cries or shows extreme excitement or sadness, yet the pain of my senior season and baseball career being over was too much to handle. I cannot remember the last time I had been on the verge of tears, but there I was.
The next day, my classmates and I halfheartedly went through school, waiting for the Zoom tutorials to end and our “break” to begin. However, in the second-to-last period, Mr. Hornor, one of my favorite teachers and a person who I attribute a large part of my academic renaissance to, hit my class with another bout of sadness.
“I hope it isn’t, but I think this is it,” he said. “But no one deserves this. I have truly loved this class. No class deserves what you guys are dealing with right now. But you are getting it. I wish with all my heart that you can come back and experience the joy of being a last quarter senior, but I don’t think you will. I love you guys. I wish this was not happening.”
It was sad, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. Frankly, I saw some peers crying and I thought to myself, “why?” Only now am I realizing the gravity of the moment.
Born right before or in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the class of 2020 was born into a world where parents and people in general did not feel safe out in public. We were too young to remember that. But here we are, 18 years later, preparing to be sent out into a world where once again, public fear is at an all-time high.
Instead of celebrating our hard work and achieving great milestones in our lives along with our 113 peers that we have gotten to know so well, we are isolated. There probably will be no senior assassin game, no prom, no Gap Day, no graduation. More importantly to me, most athletes will not be able to close out the careers they worked for countless hours on. We will not get to play Westminster or Lovett as the leaders of the team, nor will we be able to lead our teammates on the quest for one more state championship.
The class of 2020 will leave Pace not being able to fully stamp its legacy on what has been an illustrious career here. Soon, we will be called upon to lead this country and this world. However, here we are, preparing for these moments, which inch closer and closer with every day, without being able to celebrate these last few precious days of childhood.
Each day, I wake up hoping for good news. One key breakthrough that will allow me to get back on the baseball field, allow my classmates to get back to their respective sports, and allow our grade the splendor of a real senior sendoff. With each day comes more bad news.
As I said before, we were brought into and grew up in a world of uncertainty, yet we were shielded from it by our innocence. Now we will be sent out into an even more uncertain world just as that shield is taken off.
We as a society have survived it before, and we will survive it again. As you are thinking of everyone affected by this tragedy, obviously the deceased and sick should be your primary thought and prayer. However, I urge you to take a second to think back to your own senior year of high school.
I believe, just like I have up to this point, you will have nothing but fond memories. Remember that these memories will be taken away for us. Those precious moments that result in lifelong laughter and good feelings will be non-existent. Understand how we feel. It’s been a long, hard road to get to this point. And now the celebration will have to wait.
Top photo: The Senior Class celebrates their hard work following their final Spirit Week dance on Jan. 3. Photo: Fred Assaf