CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Athletes are taught to play until they hear a whistle.

Faced with insurmountable odds, many senior high-school students have remained optimistic about their chances of getting on the field at least one more time.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally blew the whistle on Friday afternoon, announcing that schools statewide are closing for the remainder of the year, erasing any hopes for an abbreviated spring sports season.

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John Jay student-athletes and coaches shared their thoughts on the announcement:

Joey Pink, senior, baseball

It’s a terrible feeling to know that it’s really over now. We’ve played so many years leading up to this season so it’s hard to swallow the fact that we aren’t getting back on the field again.

Melina O’Connor, senior, girls lacrosse

As a senior it is truly heartbreaking. I have been playing lacrosse with my best friends since we were in second grade and this final year was going to be the last time we all played together. We talked about this season since we were kids from the bleachers watching the older girls play, knowing that we were going to create a legacy here at John Jay.

Since my time playing for John Jay women's lacrosse team, we have been back-to-back section champions, regional champions, state semi-final, and just last year state finalists. All that we accomplished is truly amazing and we wanted a third try to win it all and come back home with a ring.

After hearing the news today, I was thinking back on my time playing lacrosse for John Jay and yes, of course, all the championships we won are wonderful, however, the most bittersweet part is thinking about all the fun memories that we all have together, from our pre-season practices filled with conditioning, fun team bondings, and the bus rides home after big games. Those are the things that make me smile and although, as a senior, I won't be able to rep the John Jay Indian name again for one last ride, the last few years I made some of the best memories of my life, along with life-long friendships. It will always remain my great privilege to have played for the John Jay Indians Lacrosse Team.

Charlotte Wilmoth, senior, girls lacrosse

Hearing that we won’t be having a season is truly heartbreaking. On behalf of the seniors, this was our last chance to write our own endings and possibly make history for the women’s lacrosse program. We’ve all been working so hard to bring home a state title and it hurts especially for the seniors we don’t get that last opportunity. On behalf of all the seniors, we are defiantly upset about how our high-school careers came to an end, but we have helped change this program in to a winning one. We were a part of such great success and helped bring this program to a new level! For some of the seniors, we get to step on a field again but others won’t. It’s much harder for those student-athletes who have to abruptly say goodbye to a sport they’ve grown up with. It’s also hard knowing I’ll never get to play with my best friends again, but this is making us seniors motivated to do great things in the next chapters of our lives. For the underclassmen it’s motivating them to finish what we started and bring home a state title!

Christian McCarthy, athletic director

Although we knew that it was a longshot, all of the athletic directors across Section 1 were hopeful that our student-athletes would be wearing their school colors on their backs and be taking the field again even if for an abbreviated season! In speaking with my coaches throughout the “Stay at Home” orders, I can tell you that they were planning and hopeful to be in front of their teams again and preparing to take the field, court, track, or course.

To our Seniors, we have truly enjoyed watching you grow and compete over the years! Over the course of your high-school career, you stand together as one of the most successful athletic classes in the history of John Jay athletics, culminated by being the recipients of the Tom Whelan Award last year, which is given to the most successful overall athletic program in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties!

As your athletic director, it has been an honor to watch you compete at the highest level, representing John Jay in the most sportsmanlike manner with dignity and grace. In the coming weeks, we look forward to celebrating all of you, even if it must be from a distance.

Stay tuned and Go John Jay!

Geoff Curtis, baseball coach

It's not a surprise and we knew that the governor said last Sunday that he'd be making a statement “within the week” – to finally hear the news is really deflating.

As much as you try to keep yourself and the kids “at the ready” and hopeful, I think we all knew this was coming. When I heard the Little League World Series was canceled yesterday, that hit home, also.

Every time I get to see or interact with the team (or any of my students), I realize what a rich and rewarding experience school and extracurriculars are—and how much I miss the people and the day-to-day.

I know many of us are very lucky and being stuck at home isn't the worst thing—a lot of folks have lost family members and all of the other things that could be going on—but for the seniors, especially, it's really sad. They lose that experience altogether and will always have to think about “what could have been.”

So, I'm going to be bummed out for a few moments, for the seniors, for the TEAM that wasn't (2020 JJBASE = Undefeated!) and then I'm going to start looking forward to the next time we get to put on the purple (and gold!) and PLAY BALL!

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