Friday’s news that the University Interscholastic League was canceling sports competition for the remainder of the school year hit parents and their seniors below the belt.

There is nothing you or I can tell a 17-year-old athlete that is going to make them feel better about not being able to finish their senior year. Much like the loss of a loved one, there is denial, anger, and more as we all come to terms with the most unique situation of our lifetimes.

Then again, is the 2020 spring sports season all that unique?

All sports seasons eventually come to an end, and the majority of them come to a close with a flood of tears and “what ifs?”

No matter what sport you played those trips home after a loss that ended your season, you got on a bus crammed full of thoughts like “If I had just made that block,” and “How could I miss that layup?”

The weekend after was filled with bitter thoughts and restless nights where dreams might haunt you about that missed shot or blown assignment.

When Monday rolled around, and you returned to school, your heart was still heavy. If you were lucky, there was still another season of basketball or baseball ahead, and the healing started a little quicker.

The only thing that is going to make your senior (and you) feel better is time and the ability to begin focusing on that next big event coming up in their lives because this is a “funeral” where we all get to walk away alive.

Rather than focusing on what our seniors are going to be missing, we should be exploring what we can do to make 2020 special. If the seniors graduating this year are going to miss out on the things we did in our final year – we should give them something we never had.

I’m not a creative genius, but I know we are facing the same situation as everyone else across the state, and now is the time to be exploring the options available to us.

Mineral Wells High School already has a plan in place for graduation, but that covers all the students and not those who were taking part in sports activities.

The U.S. Air Force Academy held its graduation in person via social distancing with cadets seated 6-feet apart complete with a jet flyover and the traditional hats tossed into the air at the end. The most apparent difference being there were no handshakes and hugs among those celebrating.

Perhaps an in-person Senior Night for baseball, softball, and track and field is in order following those same social-distancing guidelines. A car parade might be the answer?

The most significant issues at hand being staying safe and looking to honor senior athletes, who didn’t get the opportunity to finish their final season, My main point about all of this being let’s put our heads together because life has handed us a lemon, and it’s time to make some sweet lemonade. We can sit around and lament about what we missed, or we can make some memories unique only to the Class of 2020.

Editor’s Note: In 20 years, if you still feel bad about your senior sports season coming to an end – you should know that’s okay because it means what you were doing was worthwhile. Not to mention the stories you will have to tell at your class reunion.

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