Janice Williamson is the Executive Director of Student Health, Fitness & Athletics for Bryan Independent School District. She has witnessed first-hand the disappointment of lost seasons for local high school athletes, but is inspired by the athletes and coaches in her community.
As COVID19 began its assault on our country with all of the closures, everyone knew in their heart that is was very serious and that spring sports would be cancelled. However, we all hoped deep down that seasons could be salvaged. The UIL did its absolute best to preserve the sports seasons for our athletes. The week before Governor Abbott made the announcement to close schools, the UIL was still trying to organize the playoffs for our teams. The final decision had to be made but it was a bitter pill to swallow. With the announcement, sports were over for the year.
The news was devastating for our senior athletes. Senior year is the one everyone looks forward to. You are finally at the top, you are the team leader. You finally get the senior privileges, the seat at the back of the bus, being the first to eat at Whataburger, leading the team chant, etc.
According to one of our seniors, missing senior night and most of the season was heartbreaking. Senior night is the special time where players put on the jersey for the last time at home. The player and their parents are announced before the game, celebrated by teammates, family, friends and the fans. It is their night to be celebrated.
Senior Night is also closure. A rite of passage symbolizing the move to the next stage of their life. Spring seniors will miss this ceremony. However, many coaches and school districts are working to find a way to honor their student athletes. Bryan high softball turned their lights on and had a virtual senior night. BISD baseball coaches are organizing virtual senior nights, turning on the lights at the field, allowing individuals (self-distancing) to take pictures while having others drive by in parade style, wave and honking to honor the Seniors of 2020.
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