This coronavirus lockdown has been tough on us all.
Nobody, apparently, is taking it harder than my 10-year-old daughter Maizee.
“I know it’s tough on you because there’s no sports,” Maizee told me. “But it is way worse for me.”
“Oh, yeah?” I ask. “How do you figure?”
“Because,” she said. “this is supposed to be my childhood.”
Maizee, whose dance recital has been canceled, could not give a rip about any sports other than tap, jazz and ballet. So, the fact that we cannot watch baseball games on television does not bother her in the slightest. Actually, she unquestionably prefers it.
But she misses her friends.
She also misses her teacher as she deals with distant learning and missing out on the final three months of her fourth-grade school year.
Those wasted days are days she will never get back, and she has come to terms with that reality.
As Butte Central’s state championship basketball team took its victory firetruck ride around the Mining City last Friday, however, I could not help but think that some just might have it worse than Maizee.
The young men and women of the Class of 2020 are missing out on the very end of their childhood.
A group of girls drove around town to keep getting in front of the to hoot and holler for the boys, whose victory lap was delayed by more than two months because of the pandemic.
The girls seemed to be having the time of their lives, even though they were getting a reminder of what they were missing out on.
Among those girls were softball players whose season was completely wiped out. Some of those players were seniors.
Some of those seniors only played softball.
That means players like Zoe Doherty had their entire senior sports season taken away. Imagine how hard that must be.
This weekend would mark the end of the spring sports season.
Butte would be hosting the Class A State softball tournament, and the Maroons were a good bet to be a part of it. The rest of Butte Central and Butte High’s athletes would have been scattered across the state for softball and tennis tournaments and state track meets.
Instead, they will be camping. If they are lucky.
Of course, these athletes are not alone. High school and college players around the country have had their seasons called off for the same reason.
Butte High football and track coach Arie Grey came up with what has to be the best plan to combat the coronavirus, even if it is impossible.
He said we should shut down everything — sports and school — until next March. Then, we open up right where we left off. Nobody would move up a grade.
We would pick back up on March 14, 2021, and Butte Central would play Hardin for the Class A state championship game.
A week or two later, we would start the track, tennis and softball seasons.
Athletes like Trisha Ericson, Cutter Thatcher and the Moreno brothers, Kobe and Kameron, would still be seniors. Athletes like Zach Merrifield, Christiana Beierle and Anna Trudnowski would still be juniors.
My oldest daughter would still be a sophomore, and Maizee would get to finish fourth grade the right way.
Of course, that will not be possible because, as we all know, time waits for nobody. There are no do overs and no go backs.
The Class of 2020 from Butte High and Central has given us so much, too. Just look at what the entertainment they provided us with this school year alone.
Butte High made a magical run to the Class AA state championship game, and Butte Central made a clutch late-season run into the playoffs. The Bulldogs and Maroons both qualified for their state volleyball tournaments, and the Butte High golf team captured its second straight third-place trophy.
The Class of 2020 led all of that.
Nine seniors led the Maroons to their share of the Class A state title.
Butte High’s boys’ basketball team unleashed “The Dragon,” also a senior, and qualified for state for the first time in seven years. We will never be able to forget that.
We will also never forget those performances on the dark wrestling mats of Butte High’s old gym.
Individually, Catherine Russo won two more state titles, matching what she did in each of her first three remarkable seasons with the Bulldogs.
Even though it is coming to a painful ending, the 2019-20 school year really was one for the ages in the Mining City.
While we cannot push the pause button until the pandemic passes, there is one thing we can do to help ease the pain of these seniors. We can really stuff those cards when replying to their graduation announcements.
Butte Central graduated on Sunday, and Butte High will follow on Wednesday.
If you can, open the wallet a little bit more this year. If you were going to give $20, make it $30 or $40. If you were going to give $50, think about making it $100. If you already wrote a check for $100, think about $125 or $150.
If you already sent a check, send a supplement. These young men and women deserve it, and this pandemic is affecting every student, whether they play a sport or not.
If everyone gives a little more, it just might take a little sting out of what they are missing.
Sure, they say money can’t buy happiness, and it certainly cannot buy back a part of your childhood.
But, to borrow a line from “Weird Al” Yankovic, I guess they’ll have to rent it.
— Bill Foley, who will be expecting a kickback from the Class of 2020, writes a column that usually appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. He is writing more frequently during the coronavirus lockdown. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74. 1 comment