It was the last season of his last year in high school. And OVS senior Tyler Davis was expecting to make the most of that season, pitching and playing shortstop for a high school team that by all accounts had a good shot at securing a league championship and earning a CIF title.
But that was before COVID-19.
With schools out and a statewide lock down in place, not only did school stop but so did sports, social interaction, and normal life.
“My dad told me right when this virus started that I need to play every game like it’s my last,” said Ojai Valley School Senior Tyler Davis.
COVID-19 has had large effects on everyone, especially athletes.
“This sport [baseball] means a lot to me and has truly shaped me into a better person,” Tyler added. “I really do hope we can continue playing this year, but thinking back to what my team has accomplished these last four years, and I’m proud of them truly.”
To many people, sports are a pastime, hobby, stress reliever, or even a profession. People dedicate years of their lives to training and improving. A fundamental theory in athletics is that the road to success is hard work, and hard work is overcoming all obstacles.
Yet as COVID-19 is demonstrating, some obstacles are out of one’s control.
The Coronavirus is affecting amateur and professional athletes all around the world. The upcoming summer Olympics has been postponed to 2021 and MLB spring training has been delayed as well. The NBA season has been suspended and millions of athletes are unable to continue working on their sport.
But at its most personal level, the loss of sports might hit hardest at the high school level, where seniors around the world have lost their final year of high school sports. OVS star baseball player Tyler Davis, Olympic bound swimmer Téa Laughlin, and varsity runner Danny Ochoa are all experiencing this first hand.
Although the virus has drastically altered many student athletes senior year, many members of the class of 2020 are working to keep a positive outlook and remain optimistic.
“The virus has affected me in so many ways: it has cancelled my senior year, my track season, and kept all my friends inside,” said Ventura High senior Danny Ochoa. “It has put a complete road block in front of normal life, but honestly this is time I never would have gotten, and I’m glad I’ve been able to spend time with family.”
Danny has been running for ten years and has gone to CIF for cross country twice in his high school career. His goal this year for track was to qualify for CIF, but despite the panic, mass hysteria, and loss of opportunities due to the virus in many areas, Danny is doing his best to remain calm, healthy, positive, and safe.
“It is a real bummer, but I just have to face the facts that everything is getting stopped, and there isn’t anything I can do about it,” said Danny. “I’ll just continue to run through it.”
Luckily for Danny, he is able to continue running in quarantine, but unfortunately, some athletes are unable to continue traditional training.
Senior at El Camino High School Téa Laughlin is experiencing this first hand.
Téa started swimming at the age of 6. For the past 12 years she has been dedicating her life to her sport. Téa swims for BuenaVentura Swim Club year round and for Ventura High School during swim season because El Camino does not have a swim team. On average, she trains 16-18 hours per week, but now all pools have been shut down.
“All pools and gyms have been closed so I can’t do any sort of training like I would normally do, and it’s been hard because I am so used to the routine and structure that I have due to swimming and training,” said Téa. “Not being able to do any of that is tough, but I’m trying to not get too down about it because there is nothing I can do about it and everyone is in the same boat.”
Téa is committed to and will swim for the University of California Berkeley. She is ranked 6th in California, has competed in National Championships, and before the virus was on track to compete in the 2020 Olympics.
But despite the roadblocks, Téa is determined to remain fit through this time period and stick to her goals.
“My track to Olympic trials and the Olympics has been thrown off a bit, but not too drastically,” said Téa. “I am bummed that I won’t get to go to the Olympic trials this year if they end up postponing it to next year, but that just makes me even more excited for 2021!”
Despite the hardships and setbacks seniors faced due to COVID-19, seniors like Tyler, Téa, and many others are grateful for the years they did get to play high school sports, and are eager to continue in college.
No matter what college Tyler commits to, he will play baseball on a team or as an elective. He is thankful for the experiences and memories he gained playing baseball at OVS and is looking forward to continue developing as an athlete.
“Baseball is the sport I love and I want to continue to create memories that I’ll remember forever,” said Tyler. “OVS is what made me realize how special baseball really is.”Share