Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange Towns

The Columbian: The Spring Sports Season

With all schools in New Jersey in distance learning mode, the dedicated staff of Columbia High School’s award-winning student newspaper, The Columbianproudly present their third on-line edition at thecolumbianchs.com. The following guest column “The Spring Sports Season” by Sofie Paternite, Incoming Co-Sports Editor of the Columbian, Class of 2021, was originally published by The Columbian on June 17, 2020. With permission from CHS administration and staff at the newspaper, Village Green will be posting more content from the current issue of The Columbian in the coming weeks.

Spring athletes at Columbia High School (CHS) have been forced to come to terms with the fact that they have lost a full season of their sport, and many athletes, especially seniors, are struggling to find ways to accept this reality and move forward amidst the ongoing public health crisis.

The pandemic abruptly ended the spring sports season at its beginning in mid-March, and many CHS athletes found themselves hoping for a more flexible outcome. When this was no longer feasible, it did not cause each team to fall apart; in fact, it brought them closer together mentally.

Some teams have spent this time helping those in need. For example, the CHS baseball team organized a fundraiser to donate locally and give back to the community by collecting food to give to the Essex Pantry. Other varsity sports teams have also used this time to come together and bond with underclassmen and use the extra time productively, even with the unknown status of the future of sports teams at CHS. For example, the field hockey team organized a Zoom call to make thank you cards for essential workers and sent them to a local charity. “We work hard during the season to not only play the game and win, but to do it as a team. We figured out that it was best to give back through [Maplewood-South Orange (MAPSO)],” varsity field hockey captain Natalia Zacker,‘21, said. “Helping would be the best thing to do to show how [CHS field] hockey works as a team to support other teams as well.”

Although the field hockey team was able to give back to the community and the baseball team had a successful fundraiser, varsity baseball pitcher Aden Lefferts, ‘21, mentioned that the intensity for the season’s spirit has died down. “At the beginning of quarantine, we held practices with just players because the coaches weren’t allowed to hold anything, but then we got shut down,” Lefferts explained. “COVID-19 got much worse, [so] we haven’t done anything as a team since then,” he continued. Although they have lost the entirety of their season, they are hopeful to reconvene for a summer league, and “play as much as [they] can to make up for the lost season.”

Although this wasn’t how we imagined our senior day, the parents and underclassmen could not have made it more special.” – Julia Ethan, ’20

In addition to giving back to the community, teams have been physically active. The CHS track team has been coordinating runs to do alone and comparing their running times and locations as a way to stay connected. Varsity distance runner Sadie Tuohy, ‘20, commented, “We are still following a workout schedule as if the season were happening. Some of us have made Strava accounts so we can see each other’s runs and leave messages. We also have been doing time trials which aren’t as fun,” Tuohy explained, “but it’s a good way to stay motivated to keep training.”

Aside from charity work and working out, many spring athletes have devoted their time to reassure graduating seniors that their roles on their respective teams will be honored and remembered. The CHS softball team organized a “Senior Night” where they had a small social distanced gathering to give gifts, hang posters and deliver speeches to honor the seniors. “Our senior night celebration was amazing,” said varsity softball manager Julia Ethan, ‘20. “We got the cutest gift bags and each stood six feet apart as all of our friends and family drove by in support of our last season. Although this wasn’t how we imagined our senior day, the parents and underclassmen could not have made it more special.”

Though the physical activity was taken away shortly after the season had started, this pandemic has given an opportunity for teams to come together and find a positive outlook on the current situation. The athletes and their spectators are hopeful for a remarkable season to come next year with bonded and strong minded players.

Designed by: C. Hummel

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The Columbian staffCo-Editors-in-Chief: Martina Zacker ’20 and Nicholas Shires ’20. DesignEditors: Dana Hugel ’20 and Matt McBride ’21. Photo Editor: Arielle Loubier ’21. Art Editor: Avery Soupios ’20. News Editor: Jon Cutler ’20. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Emily Wilner ’20. In-Depth Co-Editors: Noori Zubieta ’20 and Ruari McEwan ’20. Opinions Co-Editors: Jordan Young ’20 and Ari Mehlman ’20. Sports Co-Editors: Sydney Rednik ’20 and Zoe Slavin ’20. Designers: Derek Gutierrez ’20, Jack Griffith ’22, Ethan Walden ’20, Isaac Weber ’21, Charlie Hummel ’21, Sydney Mannion ’22. Advisers for The Columbian are Joshua Enyeart (English Dept.) and Cindy Malhotra (Fine Arts).

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