The situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to unfold and we hope that athletic events can simply be postponed and not cancelled completely. However, we understand that should cancellations occur, this could mean that for many of you the 2019-20 athletic season will come to an abrupt end.

For the general population, this is just another headline that gets buried in the news, especially considering the gravity of the health crisis occurring across the world. Curbing the pandemic should be our focus right now. However, I want you to know that we are sensitive to the fact that these cancellation headlines fail to recognize the dedication, time, and hard work we know you have put in throughout the year. The headlines also neglect to convey the loss you might feel from not being able to truly test your abilities, compete to be the best and see your goals realized or even the opportunity to be gracious in defeat. If things do get cancelled, I hope it brings solace in knowing that each of you are ending your season having built a fan base that truly enjoyed watching you and cheering you on. Whether it be a community member listening to a broadcast at their kitchen table, or a fellow student sitting in the stands to watch you play, or the small child in the bleachers who hopes to be like you some day, you have made an impact. Your successes were our successes and when you stumbled, we stumbled. You allowed us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and for that, we thank you.

Sports can be a wonderful teacher and you have had the privilege of having coaches who see the court, field, and course as an extension of the classroom and educational setting. I know each of them have dedicated their careers to teach you to not only be a better athlete, but a better human being. The way your season may end, although disappointing, is perhaps your last and most significant teachable moment as a student-athlete. Plans don’t always turn out as expected. Sometimes just knowing you worked hard and gave 100% IS the reward. Caring for one another takes precedence. And ultimately, life goes on.

Although your athletic season may remain an incomplete chapter in the story of your life, you have yet to write the best part. You are part of an elite group that was able to play a college sport and that has laid a wonderful foundation for you. You have learned to juggle multiple demands, establish discipline, demonstrate teamwork, and display true grit and class. Trust me, the best is yet to come. In the meantime, we’ll do our part to mitigate the health crisis and keep fingers crossed that play will continue. If that doesn’t turn out to be the case, I hope you know how honored we are that you chose to share your talents with us and become a part of the NCMC Pirate Family. Thank you for so many great memories. As always, do well and do good. Go Pirates!