MILLBURN, NJ — After schools first shut down in mid-March, the NJSIAA made a statement saying that they would do everything in their power to have a spring season.
However, the potential for a return to practices and games was put to rest after Governor Murphy’s most recent statement. The closing of New Jersey schools for the remainder of the year on May 4th ended the hopes for high school athletics this spring.
The NJSIAA said the decision was not made lightly and “we are disappointed for the thousands of New Jersey student-athletes who will be unable to compete this spring.”
TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills spoke with several Millburn High School athletes, including Jason Berg and Caleigh Trachtman, to get their opinions on the season cancellation.
“I was extremely sad and disappointed,” Berg said after hearing the news. “I knew the announcement was coming, but I was very upset to see it become official.”
Berg, a senior, was looking forward to an expanded role as a primary pitcher on Millburn’s varsity baseball team this season, which only added to the disappointment of the current situation.
Trachtman, also a senior on the girls varsity lacrosse team, had similar thoughts when being informed that there would be no high school sports this spring.
“I was obviously devastated, though it didn’t feel real and still doesn’t seem like a reality,” Trachtman stated. “We had such good momentum going into the season with a strong team bond and it's upsetting that we weren’t able to play together.”
She continued, “Right before the season began, I was finally cleared to play almost nine months after tearing my ACL in a county game. I wasn’t able to play soccer in the fall and I worked endlessly to make it back for this season. It’s hard to believe that I will never have the ability to play high school sports again.”
Both players made a point to explain what they would miss the most about the season.
“I’m definitely going to miss the people and the competition the most,” Trachtman explained. “Throughout my years of playing sports, many of my teammates have become close friends of mine.”
“I also am a very competitive person who loves playing in tough games. Unless I choose to play in a competitive league in college, this would’ve been the last time playing competitive sports.”
In terms of graduating without a final send-off, Berg and Trachtman gave next year’s senior class some words of advice to help them savor the experience.
“Enjoy every moment,” Berg said. “It goes by quick and you should play every game and practice like it is your last.”
“What happened this year is proof that it can all be taken away in an instant,” Trachtman exclaimed. “It flies by so quickly so it is important to make the most of the time you have with your teammates and do everything in your power to make your last season the most memorable.”
Looking forward, the NJSIAA said they will continue to develop plans for the potential restarting of scholastic sports during the Fall season.
Check out part 1 of TAPinto Millburn/Short Hill's coverage of the Spring sports season's cancellation here.