By Samantha Hart
“The NEC Women’s Bowling Tournament set to take place March 20-23 has been canceled due to the coronavirus.”
This was the worst news I have received in my athletic career.
My senior year and NCAA DI career. Ended. Just like that.
- View Samantha Hart’s message to teammates and coaches. A Tribute to My Team: Four Years a Knight
As the coronavirus crisis is extremely unfortunate and no one could have predicted this six months ago, the pain I felt from my season being ripped away from me is something I never thought I would ever experience.
I’m happy that all my loved ones and I are healthy, but when I get more than a few moments of free time, my thoughts wander into what could have been.
I could have two NEC Championships and NCAA appearances rather than one.
I could feel my physical and mental abilities on the rise and close to peaking. I could hear the crowd chanting “FDU Who? FDU!” I could smell the sweat and tears from my teammates and me after putting in all the hard work for the past seven months.
But now … I feel hurt. I hear crickets. I smell nothing.
Friends and family help prepare student-athletes for the transition out of college and athletics and into the real world. But who could have prepared me for this? Leaving before my time was up?
I won’t lie — this is hard. It’s going to keep being hard and might even get harder as the days go on. But I’m trying to stay true to myself and realize the bigger issues at hand here and around the world, so putting my own feelings on the backburner is my only hope for sanity.
I know other seniors and other senior athletes, in particular, are really struggling with this global crisis and its impact on daily life, like the cancellation of athletics, the commencement ceremony and all on-campus activity.
I also know my emotional experience is probably very similar to other athletes right now.
No one would blame me if I sulked over the lost time and unfinished season. It would be justified and an acceptable response to the situation. But I choose not to.
I’ve always been quite the optimist, so I see no reason to cry over what could have been, and frankly, what should have been. If I react in a way that makes me a victim, it would be fair, but it wouldn’t make me any happier.
I believe that, although my time at FDU and on the bowling team is over, I don’t need to try to fill the gap of nothingness that the unfinished championship left in me. That space can, instead, be filled with grief and happiness that it happened and that I was blessed enough to have it happen to me.
Samantha Hart discusses the end of her Division I Bowling career.