Any other year, today would be a day for catching our collective high school sports breath. The 2020 spring season was set to end Saturday, June 20, with state champions crowned in softball, baseball, and boys and girls lacrosse. Over the last few weeks, we would have seen successful ends to the outdoor track and field season and girls and boys tennis.

I don’t need to recap what happened this spring, right? We all know why there wasn’t a spring sports season, and why graduations were converted to drive-thru or virtual events.

The spring season in Maine never started. The pandemic arrived in that space between the winter and spring seasons. We didn’t have an abrupt end to a season barely begun. Instead, we lament lost possibilities. We grieve the absence of potential.

With no season to chronicle, this spring here at the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, we’ve run a series called “Remember When,” looking back at some of the great moments in central Maine high school spring sports. It doesn’t completely fill the void, nothing short of the real thing ever does, but nostalgia is powerful, and it has been our pleasure to bring these stories to you.

This Father’s Day, instead of looking back at a full slate of championship games from Saturday, of which more than a few would have been tightly contested contests worthy of the stage, we look ahead at an uncertain future. There’s no guarantee Maine students will be in classrooms this fall, much less competing in sports.

Instead of looking back at a great 2020 spring sports season, we realize there will be no additions to the “Remember When” collection from this year.

There was no 1-0 pitchers duel held up by lightning, like the Class B state game won by Waterville over Greely in 2011.

There was no surprising victory by a team few gave a chance to win, like the Messalonskee girls lacrosse team in 2016.

No tennis team earned a title by knocking off its region’s perennial powers, like the Winthrop girls did in 2005.

No athlete had the opportunity to dominate an event the way Messalonskee’s Jesse Labreck dominated the 2008 Class A state track and field championship meet. 

No team won its school’s first and only state championship in a sport, like the Gardiner softball team in 1980.

No team broke a title drought that was more than two decades long, as the Skowhegan softball team did in 2014.

No team had the chance to continue a dominant run, like the near decade of the Waterville girls track and field program, or like the one enjoyed by Maranacook boys track and field in the early 1990s. 

Nobody hit a home run like the one hit by Gardiner’s Kyle Stilphen in 2008, a game-winning grand slam that laughed at Bangor’s Mansfield Stadium as it soared past the left field wall and into history.

No team saw a few years of hard work and determination pay off like the 2008 Rangeley baseball team.

There were no new memories created this spring, no new stories to share in future springs. This was supposed to be a day to reflect and begin to enjoy down time before the fall season begins in just under two month with mid-August preseason practices. Right now, the fall season is a big question to which there is currently no answer.

The spring that didn’t happen is over.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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