When tennis program head Bo Hardt checked his email and saw that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) had announced the cancellation of the spring season, he was overcome by emotion.
“As a coach, it was frustrating to miss the team bonding and teaching moments that each season brings,” Hardt said. “The memories on the bus, the post- match meals and the lessons learned from each season.”
The Wolverines’ athletic programs felt the impact of the pandemic in many ways. For example, the nationally ranked boys tennis team was unable to continue their past success.
“We were poised to have an undefeated season,” Hardt said. “We missed making memories on and off the court that build culture and team traditions. We missed opportunities for our younger players to improve. The effect was greater than just losing a season. We lost a lot of teaching moments as coaches, and players lost moments that help build them as players and as men for the rest of their lives.”
Although Hardt was disheartened, he said he was able to pick up new hobbies that will allow him to be a better coach when the season begins again.
“I was able to continue my own personal tennis training and had a lot of time to grow as a person,” Hardt said. “I started my own personal therapy and started playing golf.”
Similar to other Wolverines squads, the girls basketball season was postponed.
Assistant coach Terrell Lewis spoke about the guidelines for practices, in which players are only allowed to pass the ball to one person, and coaches have to wear masks throughout practice.
“Social distancing practices are not the same as normal practices, but it’s still better than online practices,” Lewis said.
Ultimately, Hardt said he encourages athletes to learn from this pandemic.
“COVID-19 was the ultimate example of a saying we have in the program,” Hardt said. “Sometimes you catch a bad break, but you have to learn something and move on.”