Written by: Eve
Edited by: Lucas
Visual by: Zoe
We are all becoming used to our lives being changed by what is being called the new normal, but there are some changes that we really struggle with accepting and coming to terms with, changes that we mourn the loss of. Seeing family and friends, going on vacation, and losing out on things that we took for granted as part of our rite of passage in high school. One of these is leaving high school as leaders of our varsity and IASAS teams. With second season being inevitably cancelled, our senior athletes were interviewed about their feelings and reactions to the abrupt end of their IASAS careers, dreams, and the memories that they have held on to from years past.
When seniors were asked about their reaction to the news of the cancellation, they unanimously agreed that the result was unfortunately expected. Swimmer Natalie says, “I was really hoping for it to just be rescheduled, but in the back of my head I knew it was going to be cancelled.” Tennis player Yana agrees, “I was definitely disappointed by the news. It was expected given the circumstances, but the official email made it a lot more real.” Natalie continues, saying, “I was really sad that I wasn’t gonna get that 4 year patch.” She explains, looking back on the work and dedication needed to prepare for IASAS. ”Even if it is a material thing, it’s still a physical reminder of the amount of effort and consistency I put towards swimming. I know a lot of other seniors are sad about that too.”
This work ethic is something that tennis player Jahaan mentions when sharing his takeaways from past IASAS experiences. He says, “attending IASAS and being part of a team really builds solid relationships with others, and that takes you much further than any medal or award. However, the sport itself is the most draining and at times, especially during quarantine, you just wanna throw in the towel and give up, but the results of hard work paying off always make me come back and it’s also the reason I’ll never leave. Sounds a bit like a toxic relationship but it’s not“. Yana reflects on her own experiences, saying, “from my time at IASAS events, my biggest takeaway is to just savor the moment. The competition is super fun, but what made it most enjoyable for me were the small things like team bondings, plane and bus rides, and meeting new people at all the different schools”. These connections were echoed by touch rugby player Silvana, who said, “the community when playing sports acted as my support system, and people who weren’t in my direct circle became my friends.” These insights make it clear how important our extracurricular sports are, not only on an athletic level, but also a social, emotional, and community level.
Finally, when asked to reveal some of their most precious IASAS moments, the senior athletes shared their personal experiences allowing us to further empathize with this significant loss from their senior year. Last year’s swim captain Danie conveys that it is the simple moments that make IASAS so special, such as “cheering for each other and holding up funny posters.” Elena shares a specific moment from her last IASAS, saying, “my favorite IASAS memory was probably getting the gold medal in the relay at swimming last year. We were definitely an underdog team and each one of us swam a personal best time. The energy in that race was amazing and everything we had trained for just clicked together.” Yana shares a similar story in which her hard work and dedication were realized and rewarded. “It was my first year as captain and we decided to roll the dice a bit with our lineup based on my judgment; I played doubles instead of singles for the first time. The coaches actually disagreed with me to the point that we only finalized [the lineup] on the week we left, but I told them it would work and they trusted me. To see it all work out so perfectly – winning a convincing gold after our silver result the previous year, and avenging ISM’s losses at the Super IASAS – was, looking back, a bittersweet end to my time at IASAS tennis.” Conversely, Jahaan admits he cannot choose a specific moment. He says, “Every IASAS memory, whether a loss or a win, a celebration or comforting teammates, every memory has its own little shtick, if that makes sense, that makes it important to me.”
The unexpected arrival of COVID-19 has made it clear that we cannot take anything for granted. Whether it is our day to day freedoms, or simply the ability to play sports, we must appreciate every moment. Silvana points out, “it is really something I took for granted sometimes, especially now when school is so stressful I don’t have anything to look forward to at the end of the day.” As a junior athlete myself, I desperately hope to be able to compete next year, but I have certainly missed the final opportunity to play with and learn from the senior athletes that have indelibly shaped my IASAS experience.