Ugh, I’ll Never Get This Year Back. But Here’s How to Cope.

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Maddie Stone drives a line shot to the outfield gap for the Dodgers in last spring’s KLBS championship game in Katonah.

By Maddie Stone

This is the year I have been dreaming of since I was eight. My first year as a student-athlete. The plan was to do modified sports this year, maybe try out for junior varsity the next. Just a month ago, the dream was within sight. Now, a month later, it’s a whole year away. I think the most frustrating part of this situation is not the wasted practice, not that I don’t get to play with my friends, but that I’ll never get this year back. This was going to be my introduction into school sports. I was going to learn how it works, meet the coach, meet the kids, and get better. Now, in high school, and if I keep playing through college, which I hope to do, I will always have one less year of experience and playing time. As a student athlete, I didn’t get the worst of it. There’s the high schoolers who were going to try out for varsity. There’s the high school and college seniors, missing out on the last year of organized sports in their lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is for the best. I’m perfectly aware of what’s happening in the world and the precautions that must be taken. I know that this is no joke. I know this pandemic is far bigger than my personal problems. I know there are sick people out there who are certainly not thinking about the toll this is taking on a healthy 13-year-old. But it remains upsetting that this year is just gone. 

It’s hard getting used to the “new normal” of being inside all the time, especially for athletes, who are used to being active, so here are five things you can do to cope:

First, control what you can control. Your attitude. Your work ethic. Feeling in control of your own life can help you stay calm. Second, stay active. Go outside. Even a walk or a light jog is valuable. Third, seize this opportunity to spend more time with your family. Play games. Talk. Fourth, set up a routine for yourself. Go to bed at a certain time, wake up at a certain time, do your work, go outside, do something fun for yourself, spend time with family, repeat. It may seem static and boring, but it will help. Finally, fifth, stay in touch. Keeping in touch with your friends and teammates will make life seem a little more normal.

There are two other things you must remember. The first one: keep practicing. Stay healthy. Just because the season is over does not mean you can stop working hard. It may not seem worth it now, but it will be next year, when you’re the only one that remembers what a softball, or a basketball, or whatever it is, even looks like. Next year, when the list of who made the team is posted, it will be worth it. The second thing you must remember is that this is going to end. It may not be now or the next month or the next, but this is going to blow over, we are going to recover, and it is going to be okay. 

Madeleine Stone, 13, is a 7th grader at Fox Lane Middle School and lives in Mount Kisco. She plays softball for the Lady Fury, a traveling tournament team through GameOn13, a softball and baseball training facility in Elmsford. Stone played in a national tournament last summer in Florida and is also a veteran of KLBS recreational and travel softball in Katonah. 


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