Fall Sports 2020: A Requiem

Dear Parents, Guardians, Coaches, and, especially, Student-Athletes:


When we first set out to begin this school year, there were many concerns about the fall season, from logistics, to safety, to scheduling. We asked a great deal of our student-athletes and our communities. In August, we were concerned beyond belief about where our school year would go, how long we would stay in session safely, and whether or not our procedures, despite the hundreds of hours that went into planning, would be fail-safe. To complicate matters, we heard the hew and cry from dozens of prospective student-athletes and families about the impact of delaying the fall season's start, with some imploring us not to cancel - though that was never a consideration.

We are now at the waning moments of this fall season, a season that has had its crest of emotions, an ebb and flow, highs and lows, unlike any season any of us have experienced. With the pod system, traditional rivalries went by the wayside. Some of our opponents because quite familiar, since we had fewer options for some sports' opponents, and the goal of hoisting a state tournament championship trophy, which is so very important to so many of us, also was taken from us. Practices took new forms. Bus rides had different feels. Game strategy, for some sports, adjusted and adapted, whether it was because of new rules or limits to players and tactics. Hand sanitizing and masks became as much a part of our equipment as the ball, the spikes, or the sticks. Fans were mostly respectful of our guidance and limitations, draconian as they may have been considered. 

We managed to get to the end of the season with, really, very little disruption. To that end, our school administration is grateful. We are grateful for our coaches and support staff, for all they rolled with, and being patient with an administration that was imposing new guidelines, some of which were not of our own will and design. We are grateful for our parents, guardians, and fans, who did their best to stay upbeat with student-athletes who were frustrated with these new rules and provided us with feedback, positive and negative. We are grateful, most of all, for our student-athletes, not just for their commitment to their sports, but for recognizing how hard this really was. Personally, I missed getting out to games as often as possible - it is one of my favorite parts of the job. This fall, complications and conflicts made that difficult, particularly as we continue to move the school forward. However, many of us who could not be there in person, were always watching from afar, be it via the erstwhile support of Uxbridge Cable and the live streams, or by getting regular texts from the athletic director.

We all long for those days before March, when things seemed much simpler and sports were just sports, to an extent. We look ahead to winter, with trepidation and anxiety about the rising numbers at the local, state, and national scale. We continue to ask our students, staff, coaches, families, and communities to make extraordinary sacrifices and adjustments to combat a global pandemic and sustain our safety and well-being. No decisions we make have been done lightly, and many of them came with incredible disappointment and frustration, though, as we have now persevered through the fall, we hope that everyone looks back at fall 2020 with a degree of both relief and gratitude for what was accomplished, not what was lost.

Athletics are, as another educator administrator wrote last week, an "important and intricate part of the fabric of our communities." To those who helped make this fall a possibility, thank you. To those who gave us something to cheer for, thank you. And to those who remain patient with the prospect of our next seasons and a day when more normalcy returns, thank you.

Yours in black and orange,

Mike Rubin, Principal
Uxbridge High School