The stadiums and arenas are empty. The locker rooms are empty. Our hearts are empty.
Unbelievable. Devastating. Unfair.
What are we supposed to do when the sports world stops completely?
As I kept scrolling through news feeds and Twitter, the cancellations and suspensions kept coming and coming. A part of me hoped that there was a way everyone could keep playing, but it started to become obvious that there was no way this could be stopped. I’ve had a season taken away before when I tore my ACL in college, but the way players at all levels in every sport are having their seasons ended, and in some cases their careers ended, is an unimaginable pain.
This is bigger than lacrosse. This is bigger than sports.
The Coronavirus is a serious threat to people everywhere. There’s a reason that everything has to be cancelled, but that doesn’t make this any easier.
For the 18 to 22 year old college athletes that had their seasons come to a dead stop, their sport means everything and to have it taken away like this is absolutely devastating. My chest is aching and I’m honestly on the brink of tears for all of them including the guys I played with in their senior years. I cried my eyes out when my college career was over, but I got to experience the whole season. For them, there is no more season. No more practices, workouts, or games. It hurts to even write that.
Coaches all over the country had to look their players in the eyes and tell them their seasons were over. There is no guide for how to deal with this. This has never happened on such a large scale before.
We were watching an amazing college lacrosse season unfold before our eyes. Halifax quickly turned into a lacrosse city and the NLL was having a banner year. Lacrosse has been on Sportscenter’s Top 10 more than ever before these past few months and it has been getting more recognition on media everywhere.
There are the Five Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but I don’t think there’s anyway anybody will ever be able to accept this.
The only comfort that comes out of all of this is knowing that every game not played is making a difference in stopping the spread of coronavirus. This is the only way to stop it.
Where does lacrosse move on from here?
With no more college lacrosse and a small chance the NLL will return, the lacrosse world is in a tough spot just like every other sport.
The PLL and MLL are not set to start their seasons until June so a lot could change by then to allow them to still play their full seasons.
If the NLL does resume playing games in a month will they play a shortened season and playoffs? Or move games into June? If they do then there will dozens of NLL players set to play in the two outdoor leagues unavailable to their PLL and MLL teams. It would be extremely hard for the PLL and MLL to move their seasons so they will likely have to play their games without the NLL players until they are available.
College players in every class will hopefully be given an opportunity by the NCAA to have another year of eligibility if they want that option. The rulebook has to be thrown out in this case.
Not only do the players lose their seasons, but the coaches, support staff, gameday workers, and everyone involved with sports must now put their lives on hold. It is going to be a tough couple of months as everyone working in the sports industry tries to find a way to still make a living.
Lacrosse and sports can be so divided at times, but now more than ever we have to be strong for one another to get through the tough days ahead.
Please stay safe out there so that we can all return to watching and playing the game we love.