School is out but student athletes aren’t quite ready for early summer

‘We probably had a chance to win but it’s over now.’


This gym was supposed to be packed with the boy and girls basketball teams practicing for playoffs.
The gym at Queen Elizabeth Regional High School sits empty since schools were closed on March 17 because of the COVID-19 crisis. The gym was supposed to be packed with the boys and girls basketball teams practising for playoffs. Supplied photo

Matthew Hagerty

Stephanie Walsh found herself surrounded by seniors, some with tears in their eyes, as their season came to an abrupt and halting end.

“That first day was really hard,” said Walsh, physical education teacher and coach of various teams at Queen Elizabeth Regional High School in C.B.S. “There were tears, my office was full of mostly seniors just wondering what happens now, and at the moment I had zero answers.” 

Walsh hopes when COVID-19 passes and things return to normal, the seniorcan get some sort of closure. 

Coaches such as Jeff Fagan with the boys hockey team at Queen Elizabeth are looking to give players that closure by inviting them to participate in other events. Fagan is looking at having them play in a team alumni game that raises money for autism. When that will be, he has no idea. 

Jack Connors is a Grade 11 student and plays on many school’s teams such as hockey and baseball.  

“We probably had a chance to win but it’s over now.” 

I was pretty bummed that it (the hockey season) was over so quick,” said Connors. “We were just about to go into the first round of playoffs and now it’s all done. We probably had a chance to win but it’s over now.” 

For grade 10 and 11 students, Connor says it’s not as bad. They at least have another shot in the coming year. Connors became close with his senior teammates and says they are “rotted” with the way things have turned out.  

It’s a whirlwind, says Walsh, and everyone is caught up in it.

Personally, I went from practising and coaching every day because this is crunch time for basketball, now it’s nothing,” said Walsh. “I do enjoy spending time with my two children and that’s great, but I would do anything to be back on the court coaching to be honest. 

Even though it is tough to be away from the game, especially during playoffs, Walsh agrees with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District decision to suspend school athletic. Student safety, says Walsh, is all that matters in times like these. 

I think they are gonna realize what a difficult time this was, even on their mental health [and] not only athletic ability, and whenever it is that we start up they are gonna be ready to go and I’m going to be happy to see that,” said Walsh.

I think whenever we start back up the drive to want to play, to practiceto make a teamto really savour those momentsI think my students are gonna be motivated.

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