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Gloves Off

Spring sport athletes deal with season cancellations
Story Series

Every year, the Bridgewater State University softball team travels to Florida for a week’s worth of spring training. Due to precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time those pre-season games will comprise the entire season.

Over spring break, members of the team were enjoying their time together in the Sunshine State. Early predictions indicated the Bears would claim the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAS) title this year. The players were understandably pumped and excited.

“We were all together, eating pizza…when we were done eating, our coach pulled us into a room,” senior Meghan Navarro, ’20, said.

That’s when the team was alerted to the developing public health crisis concerning the COVID-19 virus.

“We were given precautions, to remember to wash our hands,” Meghan said. “We were told to expect the best, but to prepare for the season to end.”

The Bears managed to get in a few games before another team meeting was called. It was then they learned MASCAS was canceling all spring sports across the board.

“The team was crying, there were a lot of laughs though, too,” Meghan said.

Impromptu speeches were given, each player praising the team with special messages for the four seniors on the roster.

“It was beautiful, it was really emotional,” Meghan said.

Meanwhile, the BSU baseball team was also in Florida for preseason, including brothers Colin Josselyn, ’19, G’21, and Matt Josselyn, ’21.

“We were actually watching the game before ours, waiting to take the field,” Matt said. “One of my teammates told us that coach said our season was canceled.”

Colin, one of the team’s captains, tried to stay level-headed for his teammates, many of whom became distraught.

“My reaction was calm,” he said. “It didn’t really hit me until we landed back home.”

Like the softball team, the baseball team was able to get in a few games. Knowing that this was going to be it for the 2020 spring season, they rallied.

“We gave it our all and played, it was a really weird experience,” Colin said.

The NCAA has issued waivers extending for a year eligibility for spring sport athletes whose season was wiped out.

Only a junior, Matt will be back and plans on picking up another year in graduate school under the conditions of the waiver. Colin, who has another year of graduate school, will also be back.

But using the NCAA waiver to extend eligibility isn’t a viable option for all student-athletes, particularly seniors like Meghan.

For someone who has been playing softball since she was five, knowing that this might be it for her playing days is bittersweet.

“As a senior I knew the day was going to come when softball was over,” Meghan said. “As a freshman you come in, you work hard to have your ‘senior’ day. You work hard to have those bragging rights, you’ve earned them…I never thought when we went to Florida that would be it.”

But she’s determined to finish out the semester, to earn her degree in communications, and make the adjustment to online classes. (As of March 23, Bridgewater State transitioned fully to online/remote learning.)

She is grateful BSU officials have made the decision to postpone commencement ceremonies, and when the time does come to walk across the stage, she will be there.

“I think I’m going to look back and appreciate everything that I have. Having the season taken away, it’s been a good life lesson,” Meghan said. “One day I will tell my own kids to appreciate what they have because it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye.”

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