“We always say, ‘I don’t want to go to school,’” senior softball pitcher April Watley said. “Now it’s our third week off, and I want to go back to school. It’s weird.”
“It doesn’t feel real,” added her teammate Osiris Alferez. “I miss everyone. I miss seeing everyone.”
The class of 2020 at Alpine High School is having a spring that is difficult to explain. The response to a novel coronavirus has led to the slow death of spring competitions, from music halls to tennis courts. The end of the high school routine was coming for all the graduates, but no one thought it would look like this.
“It’s different going from 100 miles per hour to a complete stop,” Alpine Athletic Director John Fellows admitted. “We stop in the summer, but you still get to see the kids during strength and conditioning times.”
Watley and Alferez both had high hopes for the Lady Bucks softball team in 2020. With more experience at most positions, they thought they could reclaim a District title for Alpine, and make a playoff run.
“Last year we started the season 0-8,” said Watley. “We already had more wins and already had more confidence heading in to our first District game. We were really looking forward to being a better team.”
Alpine beat Tornillo 13-6 on March 13, just hours before the first round of school cancellations were announced. Watley struck out 15 and walked none, while Alferez knocked in two runs and hit a triple.
“It wasn’t going through my head that this could be our last game,” said Alferez. “I was just focused on the game.”
As of March 24, the University Interscholastic League has cancelled all competitions and practices in Texas until May 4.
“I think they’re just trying to give the kids and coaches hope that we may have some spring sports to finish,” Fellows said. “That would be uncharted waters. Golf and tennis and maybe even track you could get done with about a week of acclimation. Baseball and softball are going to be tough ones.”
With everything up in the air, even the senior prom is at risk of being canceled. Alferez hopes her final year of high school can still resemble the ones that her older classmates got to enjoy.
“For the past three years, we’ve been saying how excited we were for our senior year,” she said. “We’re pumped for this year, and then all this happens. It makes me sad.”
“Not even knowing if we’re going to get a senior night, and after we’ve watched three different seniors graduate,” added Watley. “We've been waiting for that moment, but right now everything is up in the air.”
“We’re going to come out on the other side of this,” Fellows asserted. “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do. We’ll be back together soon.”