What is next in C.C.S. Athletics?
As we enter into the final full month of the Fall Athletic season I continue to be amazed by the resilience, flexibility and commitment of our student-athletes to their teams and to each other. To say that things are back to normal would be the farthest statement from the truth which I could muster up. The fact is, Covid-19 continues to be a looming presence in our daily lives. The additional workload created by the ongoing pandemic pales in comparison to the stress it has placed on our school nurses, teachers, maintenance crew, administrators, coaches, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, families and students. It continues to dominate our conversations and occupies a great deal of energy to manage the daily routine.
The impact of Covid-19 on our athletic programs have been numerous. For example, our varsity boys soccer team began their season down several starters due to quarantine as the team traveled to Chazy for their annual fall kick-off tournament. Just 24 hours ago the JV and varsity football teams were forced to quarantine enough players that they would no longer be able to field a team. Consequently, we needed to cancel this weekend’s football games. The JV football team has yet to play a game or scrimmage this fall. As our swim coaches prepare for their first home meet of the season today, they must manage not only their line-ups and coach their teams, but think about the safety implications of the many spectators who would be entering the facility for the first time in over 600 days. Our cross country teams have been starting their meets later than they typically do to accommodate the shortages of bus drivers in Canton and the rest of the county. As a result, there have been discussions regarding overlapping the start times of the girls and boys races in an effort to finish the races ahead of impending darkness as we move later into October. Needless to say, Covid-19 is still very much a part of our lives and despite the Pandemic’s challenges, we are still in a much better place than we were just one year ago.
As I walked the campus last night I watched Coach Mike Wentworth working with his undefeated boys soccer team, pushing and encouraging them. I then walked by the gymnasium as Coach Carla Wentworth was just finishing up practice with her undefeated varsity volleyball team. I then strolled over to the J.V. girls soccer game to a modified football game and then on to the varsity girls soccer game. I couldn’t help but feel a great sense of satisfaction as I simply took it all in. The cheers from the crowd, the many conversations taking place, the instructions shouted from Coach Greg Kiah to the girls on the field, the sarcastic quip from former Middle School Principal Art Quackenbush directed at girls soccer official Henry LaQuier, to the group of boys excitedly supporting their friends on the field, I chose to forget all of the challenges and simply be thankful for the absolutely beautiful day.
October will no doubt present more challenges. First year head varsity football Coach Corey Maxner briefed his team regarding the cancellation of this weekend’s games and summed it up very well. He stated, “The one thing we can control each and every day when we wake up is our attitude.” I could not agree more coach! Most people understand that how we approach challenges and adversity speaks to the core of a person’s character. Yet despite this knowledge, many will choose to complain, criticize or place blame. Others choose to focus on the positives and figure out what is next.
We often teach our athletes the lesson of the “short memory”. It has been stated by many coaches over time that “the best athletes have the shortest memories”. When the athlete performs well, they mange it in a humble manner and move on to “what’s next”. Examples of this could include handing the ball to an official after scoring a touchdown, pointing a finger of thank you to a teammate for a great pass following a goal, or congratulating an opponent upon completion of a tough race. When the best athletes experience a set-back, experience difficulty or make a mistake, they move on from it quickly so as not to compound that mistake or dwell on it. Former College North Carolina Basketball Coach Dean Smith once stated, “What to do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” My thought is that a similar approach could be applied to managing the set-backs presented by Covid-19. Recognize that it is prevalent in our community, admit that it is a part of our lives, learn how to navigate it, and focus our positive attitudes on what’s next!
To find out what is happening next in the world of Canton High School Athletics, please find our Sports Schedules at the link below and continue to come out and support our student-athletes this Fall!