Last week, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Indiana schools would not return to in-person classes, and spring sports seasons subsequently were nixed. Senior athletes at Northwestern, following the announcements, were disheartened.
A pitcher and third baseman for the Northwestern softball team, senior Kendal Rooze said being away from softball was difficult. Having expected to go right into the season after spring break, the extended time off without team practices or games was tough to adjust to, she said.
Though she already signed to continue her softball career at Indiana Wesleyan University, Rooze said losing out on her final high school season was still just as emotional.
“I never imagined ending my senior season like this, and it breaks my heart that I and the other seniors will never be able to play for Northwestern again,” Rooze said. “I’ll miss not being able to play another game or practice with my teammates and coaches and not being able to create new memories with them.”
To keep active for softball season next year, Rooze still has been practicing hitting, throwing, and bike riding with her family.
Finding it difficult to be away from her teammates, Rooze said this experience has kept her humble. She said she realized everything could change "in the blink of an eye" and not to take anything for granted.
Rooze expressed resentment toward the lack of experiences she has been able to have thus far in her final semester of high school.
“Growing up, everyone’s been talking about, ‘Senior year will be your greatest season and greatest part of your life of high school.’ And losing my spring season and half of my school senior year … I’m definitely being cheated,” Rooze said.
Rooze said she plans to catch up with her friends once restrictions are lifted.
A senior centerfielder for the Tigers, Garrett Wecht said not playing baseball his senior year was upsetting after he worked hard to prepare for the spring season.
“It hurts to know now that us seniors will not be able to play our senior baseball season. It hurts to know that we won’t ever know if our three years of hard work and preparation would have paid off during our senior season. It just feels like we were cheated out of our second semester of senior year,” Wecht said.
The hardest part about being quarantined for Wecht was being away from his teammates and not being able to prepare for the season with them, he said.
While at home, Wecht still has been throwing a baseball every day to keep his arm healthy. Additionally, he said he has lifted weights every other day and taken pop-flies and groundballs when the weather is nice.
Although he was let down by having to miss out on the “fun parts” of senior year, Wecht said he learned not to take anything for granted and said he will come out stronger for having experienced the pandemic.
“Knowing that you went through it and knowing something bad could happen, but you have the preparation knowing that you could take down anything and be prepared from it,” Wecht said.