Oak Park athletes honor National Student-Athlete Day in quarantine

CIF cancels spring sports season statewide


Havi Rubenfeld/Talon

National Student-Athlete day is held on April 6, where athletes are recognized for their accomplishments.

On a usual April day, athletes can be seen around the country competing on fields, tracks, courts, rinks, courses, pools, rings, and essentially, anywhere with room to play. However, on April 6, 2020, or National Student-Athlete Day 2020, athletes around the world were quarantined in their homes, but their equipment hasn’t rusted yet. 

Because of the global pandemic taking place due to the COVID-19 virus, the California Interscholastic Federation, or CIF, Executive Director Ron Nocetti issued a news report on April 3 announcing the statewide cancellation of the CIF spring season.

Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond, regarding schools turning to distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, the California Interscholastic Federation does not see an avenue for the spring sports season to continue,” Notecci wrote.

This has added to many athletes’ grief over losing their spring sports experience.

“It’s so sad that it’s National Student-Athlete day and I’m not with my team, but I will definitely be going outside to [practice volleyball] today. I miss my team, but even this quarantine can’t take my sport away from me,” senior and beach volleyball player Sophie Kuchan said.

According to the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, National Student-Athlete Day is celebrated annually on April 6 to honor students who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics, while having made significant contributions to their schools and communities.

“Today, especially, I just wish I was on the field,” senior and lacrosse player Cooper Ahlers said. “I miss playing my sport with my team, with my friends, and it still hasn’t hit me that it’s over.”

Oak Park High School canceled all in-person activities for the rest of the 2019-20 school year with the implementation of the Distance Learning program, which included the cancelation of all spring sports.

“[The activities being canceled] includes all athletics, performances, prom, dances, open houses, awards ceremonies, culminations, graduations, and other such events,” Principal Kevin Buchanan wrote in an email sent via ParentSquare.

In order to receive P.E. credits, spring sport athletes must email their coach a completed daily activity log for March 23 – May 1. Some athletes are using this “assignment” as a way to continue practicing their sport.

“At first, when I heard sports were canceled, I was heartbroken,” junior and softball player Faith Hughes wrote. “When we got the activity log, it kind of forced me to get up and start playing again. Of course, it’s not the same without my team, but being able to still just go outside and bat is making quarantine much more doable.”

Others have used the time in isolation to hone their skills, since there is “much more free-time” in isolation, according to senior and dance team captain Nicole Ash.

“I feel like I have been appreciating dance so much more now that we are all quarantined. I’ve been using my free time to make TikTok’s, which utilizes my dancing and allows me to have fun dancing again,” Ash said. “The dance community has been amazing during this time too. Everyone’s just trying to make the best of this situation.”

Even in isolation, OPHS student-athletes have found ways to continue practicing their sports.

On National Student-Athlete Day 2020, the OPHS student-athlete community honored the 501 spring sport athletes who have had their seasons canceled due to COVID-19.

As written by Athletic Director Tim Chevalier to the spring student-athletes on StudentSquare — “Stay active and well! Go Eagles!”