If you are a high school senior who was planning to play a spring sport, it looks like the unthinkable will occur. The cancellation of all spring sports.
Maybe this was the first year you were scheduled to start, maybe you were just elected a team captain, maybe this was the year that your team was positioned to win a league or state title, maybe there was a potential scholarship on the line or maybe you just wanted to live out your lifelong passion to play the sport you love.
In any case, this will be a huge emotional loss for you on many levels.
Right now, there are probably no words that will lessen your disappointment, sadness or even a little anger. But, at some point in the near future, you are going to have to deal with this reality and find ways to move forward if you want to be happy again.
Here are some suggestions to help you accomplish that.
Go Slowly, Allow Some Time to Pass
Take time to grieve and go through the healing process before you make any major decisions. Trying to deal with this while you are in the moment can be difficult when your feelings are still raw.
Your sense of loss is real and many of your emotions will be very similar to other types of mourning or grief people experience after a loss.
Although many students are going through this, it is personal. Your loss is your loss, your feelings are your feelings and no one can blame you if you feel depressed, angry or betrayed by the decision to cancel your final season.
Manage Your Emotions
First, take care of your basic needs like getting enough sleep and eating properly. You will have a more difficult time dealing with your emotions if you are unhealthy.
Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t control.
Do not view your feelings as facts that can’t be changed. They are emotions that can and will change over time.
You will need the emotional support of family and friends. Do not direct your frustrations and the anger caused by this situation towards them and risk losing their support.
Remain physically active. Being physically active will not only help you stay in shape, it can reduce stress, help control negative impulses, lessen anxieties, focus your mind, and make you happier and healthier.
Empathize with others who are going through the same thing. You’ll be surprised how emotionally impactful this can be, not only for others but for you.
Maintain healthy relationships with teammates and friends by communicating regularly, actively listening to what they are saying and being open to seeking and offering help to others when they are in need.
These are suggestions, not guarantees. Hopefully, they can help you manage your emotions so you can move forward in a positive direction.
Keep Things in Perspective
We all recognize these are extraordinary times. Millions of people have lost their jobs and thousands have lost their lives. Families are struggling to pay bills and put food on their tables. Millions of other high school students are going through the same thing you are.
Knowing this, you may feel embarrassed sharing how you feel about your sense of loss. Don’t be. Acknowledging what you are feeling is not a sign of weakness. It is an important and necessary step you need to take in order to heal emotionally.
In the past there have been hurricanes, tornadoes and floods that have closed schools and cancelled sports. Most of those athletes managed to endure what you are going through because they actively participated in bringing normalcy back into their lives.
Pivot Back to Normal
As catastrophic as the cancellation of your sports season may feel, it only defines this moment in time. It is not a measure of what the future holds for you.
Getting back to normal will begin by focusing on small achievable goals. For example, put your focus on maintaining a simple daily routine, not on your loss.
In the end, it will be the actions you take now, and how well you handle your emotions in the present, that will help define what your future looks like.
Finally, take a step back to the time you first began playing sports. Think about all the moments of joy and the feelings that drove you to continue along the path to play your sport this season. Hold on to and cherish those moments. They won’t replace this lost season, but at some point in the future when all of this begins to fade, those memories will outweigh the sadness and disappointment you are experiencing now.
Good luck and stay safe.
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