The 2020 high school spring sports programs around the state were dealt a huge blow on April 20 as the Florida High School Athletic Association announced that all spring sports would be cancelled.
The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) also announced that additional eligibility will not be given to the student-athletes. With this announcement came the realization of the abrupt end of many young careers.
According to the April 20 statement by the FHSAA, “…it is with heavy hearts that the FHSAA has decided to cancel all FHSAA-affiliated events, inclusive of the state series and all championship events, for spring sports. The safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans is our top priority. With the evolving threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we must ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of this illness. We are deeply saddened for our student-athletes who have seen their seasons and/or high school careers end so abruptly. Our association knows the impact and role high school athletics play in the lives of so many and will continue to work towards the betterment of high school sports. We know this is a trying time, but the health and safety of all is of utmost importance to this association.”
“When they announced that the season was over, it didn’t hit me until a couple days later,” said Bloomingdale senior softball player Trinity Howard. “It hurt when I realized I wouldn’t be able to play with my teammates again, or play on the same field.”
Howard’s career will continue at the next level, as she is committed to playing softball at Eastern Florida State College, where she will study law. The careers of many upperclassmen have been put in limbo because they didn’t have the opportunity to further prove themselves this high school season in front of scouts, and they may not have the opportunity this summer, either, with the AAU season in question.
Durant baseball junior pitcher Alex Canney was in the midst of having his best high school season, having thrown 18.1 innings with a 0.76 ERA, 21 strikeouts and just one walk. He threw a complete game shutout against rival Newsome and threw six scoreless innings against Bloomingdale before the shutdown of the season. He had a lot riding on that season to prove himself, as he has not yet committed to a college.
This is the time where most players commit to their future schools, but the NCAA has closed all recruiting during the pandemic. The process has been halted because college coaches are not allowed to make contact with players as of right now. This will put added pressure on Canney to perform well in his next high school season to earn a scholarship.
“Senior year is the year that every kid dreams of with his team,” said Canney. “I have grown up with all these kids and have played with them or against them my whole life. I’m lucky that I’m a junior and not a senior, and that it’s not over for me now. My heart goes out to those guys, it’s crazy to see.”
A lot of seniors don’t have a scholarship, and may have played their last game ever. East Bay baseball player Aaron Jackson falls into the category.
“Having my senior season end out of nowhere really hurt, because I’ve been playing this game my whole life, and now it’s gone forever,” said Jackson. “The thing I will miss most about baseball is the family you make while playing the sport. The guys you play with will be your friends forever and will always have your back.”