HHS Students and Coaches Contemplate a Year with Fewer Sports


HHS File Photo

For a lot of students at Hughson High School, being able to play sports is a big part of their high school experience. Unfortunately during this school year so far, many athletes weren’t able to play sports and coaches weren’t able to teach those same sports. 

Mr. Bernard, the Cross Country and Track and Field coach at HHS stated, “I was pretty bummed for the opportunities that our kids missed and pretty bummed because our teams are really good right now so it’s a double whammy.  Not only did kids not get to participate, but they were denied the chance to win championships that they’d been working toward for maybe 4 years already.”

Mr. Carvajal, a Baseball coach at HHS expressed similar thoughts. “I look back and think of all the memories that every student missed out on. There were teams that had high ambitions and they’ll never know what could have been. It reminds me of our baseball team last year when all this started. We had really high hopes and it was as good a team I’ve seen since I started coaching.”

Mr. Zylstra, a Golf and Boys Soccer coach at HHS said, “It is extremely difficult, many student athletes consider sports as a big part of their identity, so they are feeling like a part of their life is lost.  Despite this I know many student athletes are able to push on and enjoy new activities. For the most part, it’s been difficult.  However, in many more instances than I would have guessed, some athletes have dealt with this with a surprising level of maturity and understanding; more than with some adults, often.  I’ve been able to see this from the perspective of my students, as well as my own children.  I have two sons that attended HHS and participated in sports.”

Mr. Caravjal also offered an idea of the student athletes perspective in these times,  “Helpless. These kids have put in so much time and effort with the hope that they’d be able to play this year. They still could but it won’t be the same. But, I understand the severity of the situation and it’s really just unfortunate.”

For many coaches not just at HHS but at other schools feel that it is difficult enough not being able to coach for one semester, so I wanted to see how coaches would feel if they weren’t able to coach for a whole school year. 

Mr. Govett, a Boys Basketball coach at HHS said, “ I don’t want to say I’ve given up on basketball this year, but there’s a need to mix optimism with pragmatism.  Basketball and wrestling are yellow tier (the most restrictive tier) sports, meaning Covid would essentially have to disappear in order for us to play.  I see highlights from high school basketball games on Hudl, an online game film company, and it’s frustrating to see so many other sports playing with guidelines while California has practically no chance of playing basketball this year.  The fact that purple tier sports like cross country, golf, and track are already practicing and will have competitions starting is nice.  I think we’ll see baseball and softball happen which makes me happy since they got cut short last year.”

Mr. Carvajal also said that, “I’d have a hard time with it at some points, but God is always good. What that means to me is that it’s hard for me personally to ever dwell on something or let it affect me too much. I’m as competitive as anyone and I get really into whatever I do but everything needs perspective. So this situation would be difficult to deal with but I have my health and my life and for that I am always grateful.”

On the subject of students possibly not playing at all this year Mr. Zylstra said, “It will be a big let down, but all athletes have endured disappointments.  While this will be very difficult I am confident that our athletes will use this time to train and come back even stronger, not just physically but mentally as well.”

Mr. Bernard stated that, “I think it really depends on the kid.  Some kids seem perfectly fine with not competing again and on the other end of the spectrum, some kids are absolutely crushed and struggling with the fact that this huge part of their lives has been taken away and that they may never have a chance to pull on a black and gold uniform again.”

Mr. Govett said, “ I think we have pretty resilient student-athletes here, and they will find ways to stay active and compete.  If it looks like orange and yellow tier sports are out for the year, I hope kids from those tiers’ sports will play a sport that is available.  I know the basketball kids are disappointed because we had high expectations for this year.  Another effect, although most athletes in California will be in a similar boat, is the loss of a year of development in a sport.  For example, this year’s sophomores will miss a primary sport at the high school level, football or basketball for example, and try out for varsity next year with only freshman team experience in most cases.”

Mr. Carvajal said, “I’ve seen how it’s (distance learning) affected students who have normally done really well. With sports, that’s something different entirely. I don’t know how many kids I have had that aren’t the greatest in the classroom or have the desire/motivation for it but out on the field they’re as passionate and motivated as just about anyone. Sports for many is an enjoyable aspect of their life. School, not so much. What I can say to them is that the work never stops. Take that same fire and passion you have for sports and let it be a part of everything in your life. I really think sports is a great way to build your character. There are many lessons learned by playing sports. And the one thing that I personally would miss the most is the camaraderie. So many friendships and memories are built playing sports. I think for many that is what they’ll miss the most about not being able to play.”