As I sit down to try and capture the appropriate spirit of this message, I am overcome with many thoughts and emotions. Many of you have undoubtedly already heard the message from the CIF office. Amid the crisis surrounding the nation and our uncertain future, the decision was made to cancel the remainder of our spring season. This means that there will be no more early morning weights, no more practices, and no more competitions.
What does that mean for our school, for our teams, for our coaches and players, for our parents, and for our fans? This leaves our school with a huge void. One of the most unifying parts of any school, and especially at Damien, is the brotherhood of athletics. Suddenly and without any fault of our own, that was taken away from us. I will never be able to express to you the disappointment I have about losing out on our spring season.
The Spring season is always so busy. But, with that business, comes a great deal of excitement. Some of the most exciting days on campus come during the Spring. All of us having the opportunity to go from watching the 100m dash on the track to a quick walk to the pool to catch the 200yd relay. Moving quickly down to the baseball field to catch a couple innings and running back up to the tennis courts for an intense match in a tie break set. A short walk to the athletic center and you can watch the volleyball team in the middle of an intense match in the 5th set and take a quick dinner break before capping it off with our lacrosse team facing off in an evening match. Being able to see all of these events on campus on the same day is tiring for an athletic director, but also why I love what I do.
Coaching baseball for nine seasons at Damien, I will always feel a connection to the Spring. I am often asked if I miss coaching and my answer is always the same. I miss my players and I miss the close relationships I had with them, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If I were still coaching, there would be no way to enjoy the eight other sports that happen in the spring. Yes, you heard that right. Damien students participate in nine sports in the Spring. A prize will be sent to the first person that can correctly identify all nine! I was enjoying the early parts of each of the spring season and was so looking forward to seeing you all continue to compete. I was looking forward to watching our coaches lead our student-athletes. I was looking forward to cheering on our Spartans as a fan, like so many of you do.
To our student-athletes, thank you. Being a student-athlete comes with so many sacrifices. As an athlete, many of us are willing to make these sacrifices knowing our reward is competition. Getting to showcase our hard work. Getting to let everyone see that the early mornings and late nights have been worth it. For you, our Spring athletes, this opportunity was taken from you. You were robbed of your opportunity to see the fruits of your hard work. You were robbed of the camaraderie of your team, your conversations with coaches, and the life lessons that come with sport. Especially to our seniors, I understand how disappointing this is for you. You deserved more than this. Please know that we will do everything we can to honor your hard work, contributions, and commitment to your team. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you mean to Damien Athletics. You will not be forgotten.
To our coaches: Damien Athletics functions because of your tireless dedication to our student-athletes. I am humbled to be able to work with each of you every day and am proud of your leadership. Thank you for always giving everything you have to teach our boys about sport, but more importantly, about life.
To our parents: Please know that while much of what you do happens behind the scenes, we can’t do it without you. Your tireless hours of getting your sons to and from practices and games. Your countless hours of volunteer support are vital to the success of our programs. Thank you!
To our fans: Damien boasts a very proud tradition of excellence and we could not do it without you. Your unwavering support and love for Damien Athletics could never be appreciated enough. The roar of the crowd will always give me chills. We know that when this is over, that roar will return to Damien. Thank you!
I was asked recently to comment as to why not having spring sports is a negative thing. I believe in times of chaos, in times of tragedy, and in times of uncertainty, people need the ability to rally around their favorite sports team. So many of us call Damien our home and our favorite team. We currently do not have that ability to shut out the negative and take in a match rooting for our favorite team. And honestly, for me, that just makes me a little sad.
With all that said, what I do know is this. Our Spartans are resilient. Our Spartans will always fight. Our Spartans will continue to work hard for when the all clear comes. Our Spartans……will return again.
Be safe, Spartans. Stay healthy. Keep smiling.
All the Best,