San Dieguito Academy Newspaper
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Photo courtesy of Sarah Bovenizer

The Mustangs take it in for a final cheer after an 18-13 win against Mission Hills

What it’s like being a student athlete during COVID-19

Why coming back for my second season has been my best decision this year

April 28, 2021

Disclaimer: I am speaking on behalf of my personal experiences so far. I cannot speak for every SDA student-athlete.

I’ve been playing lacrosse since elementary school, and it’s pretty much the only sport I’ve stuck with for that long. My interest in sports, however, begins and ends each time I show up and leave for practice. I’ve played for recreational and competitive teams, but I’ve never actually been the person to make sports a big priority in my life.

That being said, when I’m on the field, I really, really do enjoy it. Last year, I got to enjoy about a month of the high school athletic experience before it was cut short due to COVID-19. However, in that month alone, I already created strong friendships with people of all ages, and I felt like I belonged to a tight-knit community.

If I’m being entirely honest though, I wasn’t even sure I was going to return for my sophomore year. The thought of jumping into something so time-consuming so quickly sounded like a huge drag at the time. I hadn’t had a regularly scheduled in-person obligation like sports or school in over a year. Why disrupt the comfort of online school and relaxing at home when I was already so used to it?

By the day of tryouts, I wasn’t even planning on showing up. It wasn’t until half an hour before the tryouts started that I made a deal with my parents: ‘I’ll show up for one day and if I dislike it, then that’s that.’ 

The thing is, there was no ‘that’s that.’ Once I had reconciled with old teammates who I hadn’t seen for a year, I remembered the reason why I enjoyed playing so much in the first place. When you spend five or six days out of the week with the same group of people, you automatically feel a strong sense of unity. While on the surface the sport you play may all draw everyone together, when you start to spend more time with your team, you begin to recognize the shared interests you share away from the sport. Especially during the pandemic, finding and maintaining connections between people have been increasingly crucial as the majority of social opportunities have come to a halt. 

The atmosphere and energy of playing on a high school sports team are unmatched. On my club team, there were times when only six girls showed up to tournaments (which is half of what you need). On a high school team, you know you can rely on your teammates to show up. Even if everyone has a different reason for playing, everyone shares the same goal: to win and to have fun. 

I’m fortunate enough to play a sport that gets a full-length season, as I know that some sports had their time cut substantially. Specific to the girls’ lacrosse program, I feel that we’re going to have a very strong season this year. We have three devoted senior captains leading our team this year, who have helped the team become more powerful as a single unit. I’m also thankful for our coaches who show up to practices and games with passion and energy, even with everything else going on in the world. 

Coming back to playing lacrosse has been the best decision I’ve made this year. It’s helped me gain a stronger interest in sports outside of lacrosse, as well as a deeper love and appreciation for the sport itself. Perhaps the best part of all is being with my 32 teammates and friends, with who I get to grow as an athlete every day.

About the Writer
Ava DeLuca, Spring Arts Editor

I'm the reason why my 5th-grade class had to sing 679 by Fetty Wap to the whole school

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