SOMERS, 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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Somers student-athletes and coaches shared their thoughts on the announcement:

Peter MacNeil, senior, track and field

I am very disappointed that I will be unable to finish my career as a Tusker off in a traditional sense. As an athlete preparing for college, the loss of a season in which I could've ran times that would implicate to coaches that I am in shape for college creates uncertainty for me and what my collegiate athletic career will look like.

Jen Campbell, senior, girls lacrosse

I am absolutely heartbroken. When I heard the words, I sat on my bed and stared at my ACL brace hung up on the wall and cursed it. I selfishly feel as though I have been robbed of two years of lacrosse, and I can't really find the right words to describe the pure sadness in my heart.

I have been around this sport since the day I was born, and although I have four more years to play, I will never be a Tusker ever again. I will never wear number 16 on a red and white Somers jersey ever again. And although I was aware that high school lacrosse was going to end, it wasn't supposed to end like this. And for me, it especially wasn't supposed to end on April 22, 2019 with a torn ACL.

For student athletes, this is so much more than a cancellation of a sports season. This is like coming to the end of a book, so excited to read the last chapter just to find that it's been ripped out of the book and gone. There's a big what-if factor for us athletes. What if this was the year we were going to win the section? What if this was the year we were going to beat Yorktown? What if this was OUR year? I imagine most athletes are as competitive and passionate as I am, and those questions will haunt us.

Sports are more than the games, wins, loses, and stats. Sports are our homes, and our teammates are our families that live within the four walls of our home. COVID-19 was a house fire for us athletes, and although all of us made it out alive, the house itself and the memories that built the foundation of it are only that: memories.

I hope that what comes out of this are athletes even more passionate about their sport. Athletes that will never dread a single practice even though it's raining or below freezing, that will always run through the end line no matter how long the sprint. I pray that no athlete ever has to lose their sport or end their career even a second earlier than they are supposed to.

Nick Rossi, senior, boys lacrosse

Obviously I am devastated about the news of our spring season. As a senior, and this being the last season I would have been able to wear a Somers uniform, this is certainly not how I wanted it to end. But at the end of the day there is nothing we can do about it and I think it is important not to dwell on the situation because everything does happen for a reason.

Rich Nappi, baseball coach

I completely understand the decision that was made. Ultimately it’s about safety, which should always come first. So many kids have worked so hard and dedicated a portion of their lives to their sports so it’s tough to not be able to see them get rewarded for it.

The disappointment that I feel for the seniors specifically is really tough to put into words. I think the best thing that can come from this is that we use this as a lesson to never take anything for granted and always leave it all out there. I think going forward our program will be stronger because of this. I look forward to being able to see everyone again and get to work.

Jesse Arnett, track and field coach

No one could have predicted this season: A life threatening outbreak that keeps us isolated and away from who and what we love.

This doesn’t sound like a track and field season, it sounds more like a fictional adventure movie coming out on Netflix. All jokes aside, while this season was a surprise, you can guarantee that this won’t be the only surprise you have during your lifetime. As an athlete, surprise is part of the game. Injuries can occur, competition can go the wrong way, and sometimes we lose when we are supposed to win.

We take part in sport because we want to push ourselves to be better, we do not do it because we know what will occur. Sports help us build our ability to handle surprise, to fight through and persevere when times are tough. Sports help to develop the character needed to overcome the obstacles we will face in life.

Jefferson said, “I find that the harder I work the more luck I seem to have.”

If you are continuing to push yourself, you will continue to see surprises in life. We can call it luck or we can call it dedication, but we train to sway the results of those surprises in our favor. If we work hard, if we train to be our best, we will see results.

Even if we don’t know what those results are at the moment, there will come a day where we look back on these tough times and realize that our efforts during a time of despair made us the person we currently are. Our actions today make us who we will be tomorrow.

Stay strong, stay focused and continue your hard work because we are here for you, your team is here for you, and most importantly you are making yourself a better tomorrow with every effort you train today.

Season or no season, we are always here for our athletes.

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