Springing into senior season: Senior athletes reflect on ‘bittersweet’ last season

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Photo credit: Kim Smith, Wilma Wong, Hilary Rosen

Senior spring athletes are upon their final meet, match and game. As their seasons come to an end, senior athletes characterize it as “bittersweet” and “surreal” season. They have worked through a season riddled with COVID-19 and uncertainty.

By Grace Doyle, Sports Editor

As the school year comes to a close, so do sports seasons for all Archer athletes. The adjusted seasons left ambiguity in the fate of many senior’s final months as an Archer athlete.  From the swim and tennis teams to soccer, senior athletes reminisced on their past seasons, dove into their current competitions and gave advice to future Archer athletes.

As transitioning into sports took place earlier this year, much was still unknown about the fate of many sports. Seniors waited to hear about if they could compete for a final time, and many looked back on what they loved about their sports. Senior Gracey Wyles spoke about her favorite small moments as a swimmer on Archer’s team.

“I just missed being in the pool,” Wyles said. “Competitions are not my favorite part of swimming. I love the practice and passing on the wall conversations that are so short and funny and random.”

Much of what seniors missed most were the bonds created with their teammates. From small conversations to facilitated bonding experiences, the team atmosphere was something many seniors were glad to regain. Senior tennis play Lexie Ben-Meir recalled reigniting her love for tennis this season.

“When we came back together and started practicing and playing matches I forgot how much I missed it,” Ben-Meir said. “Especially how much I missed being around everyone on the team and just playing the game. It’s the idea that you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone.”

Some athletes said they were grateful they even had a season this year. Yet, as the school year enters the final weeks, Varsity soccer headed to the CIF quarterfinals. Along with that comes “bittersweet” feelings noted by senior Stella Chuck.

When we came back together and started practicing and playing matches I forgot how much I missed it,” Ben-Meir said. “Especially how much I missed being around everyone on the team and just playing the game. It’s the idea that you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone.”

“It’s bittersweet because I was thinking that last year was going to be my last season and that I wouldn’t get to play this year so it was a nice surprise,” Chuck said. “But it’s strange playing knowing that any game could be the very last one.”

Ben-Meir echoed the “sweet” component of her final tennis season. While she was apprehensive about playing, once the season started she said it was a “positive” experience.

“It’s surreal, it hasn’t quite hit me yet. This last season has been very short and sweet,” Ben-Meir said. “It was an imperfect, perfect culmination of my Archer tennis experience. I’ve made a lot of friends along the way … It’s been a very positive experience and I’m really excited or the future of Archer tennis and also the end of the season.”

According to Chuck, the condensed season was also full of lessons. Especially in a team sport, she emphasizes the importance of comradery.

“This season really taught me the importance of spreading time together as a team,” Chuck said. “Normally, before we start league games, we have at least three weeks together practicing and hanging out as a team, but this year because of COVID we couldn’t do those things … So it really shows me how important it is to be a team on and off the field.”

Looking toward the future, Archer athletes look to seniors for their wisdom. Ben-Meir paralleled Chuck’s sentiment of creating bonds.

“Just enjoy each other’s company,” Ben Meir said. “Just try to bond with people because those bonds will last so long and you’ll be able to come back to Archer have all those memories and friendships.”