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A sports-less society in Roswell

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This is the Launch Pad after the Southwest Classic was canceled last week. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

For every high school senior, coach and teacher in Chaves County that plays sports, coaches sports or teaches in a classroom, what has happened to all of us shows there is a lesson to be learned for everyone. For every senior that will graduate in May, my heart breaks for you.

Sports are a microcosm of life, and with this coronavirus (COVID-19) it has uprooted everything we knew to be safe and secure. What we are finding out here is there are no fast, workable solutions that may save the rest of your senior year. Professional sports have postponed, moved back and even canceled their seasons.

Some people have even stated that this is overblown, some people feel invincible. It only takes one person to die, and until then, it really doesn’t hit home. The magnitude of this situation, unless it’s a famous person or a family member that dies from this virus, it doesn’t touch us all in a real way. If you’re my son or daughter, there is no way I’m risking your safety for a sport or game.

As a dad, you’re my most precious commodity and it only takes one time. As a father, I’m not willing to risk you being that one. As a dad, I want to make other memories with you.

Life is not fair, and before you (seniors) can get a chance to enjoy the last vestiges of the year you will always remember and talk about, your senior year — reality hits. No one could have accounted for this, and when world events travel to Roswell, New Mexico, you know it’s serious. Time and chance happen to all of us.

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Missing sports

For you seniors, I want you to experience what it’s like to win that tennis match at state. I want golfers extraordinaire, Roswell’s Peyton Jones and Goddard’s Jadin Ware, who are looking to be in the mix for a state title, to have the opportunity to sink the 8-foot putt to win it all. For the track and field athletes, I want you to stand on one of the top six places on the podium for being all-state.

For the Goddard softball team, a phone call — less than 24 hours before their season-opening game against Clovis on the road — postponed their season indefinitely. Roswell’s first-year softball coach Rebecca Marrujo has been denied the opportunity to feel the butterflies as a coach, and the thrill walking to home plate and handing her first lineup card to the umpire as she begins her coaching career.

For the Goddard baseball team, they have been on a mission to add another Blue Trophy to their title case. For the Roswell baseball team, they have had a season-high in defeating Goddard for the first time in a long time. They’re looking to make some noise and win more than 13 games while making it to the playoffs in District 4-5A for second-year coach Tyrell Curtis.

The Charlie’s Angels Dance Team won their third National Championship trophy in five years. (J.T. Keith Photo)

For Charlie’s Angels, they have been on a mission since last season. One part of their mission has been accomplished by winning the National Dance Alliance High School title with a score of 95.60 and a new dance routine — “Old School Hip Hop.” The Angels want to get the other half of their goal accomplished and regain their top spot as the No. 1 dance team in the state of New Mexico.

That is just sports, and if I forgot a sport, forgive me, I couldn’t wait to get to the good stuff.

Graduation day

With the last eight weeks of school coming, I want you, seniors, to know what it’s like to have a great spring break and bemoan it coming to an end. I want all of you to be excited about going to the prom, rushing home from a game to get ready. I want you to enjoy the dance and after-party, as you and your friends stay up all night talking about how you’re going to be the next great doctor, teacher, coach or business executive.

And for some of you, you do not know what life holds for you next … and that’s OK, too.

Mainly, I want you to experience the sending out of invitations and awaiting “that day” you have worked for since the day you were born. The passage of moving from young person to mature young adult, where you graduate high school and move to the next level in your life. This is the day you and your family will never forget. This is a day that none of you young adults will forget.

Graduation day will mean more to your parents than it will to you. It will make all of their sacrifice worth it. It will make them working all those extra hours and shifts worth it — those two hours.

Why? Because in some families, you will be the first in the family to graduate high school. This day may mean the family graduated — because you graduated and their investment in you has paid off. Not only will you seniors remember the day, but you will remember the tears, hugs, parties and the hangouts of the day.

More than anything, you will feel the exhilaration of accomplishing the goal of graduating — you did that. You took those tests, went to class and sweated through classes you didn’t know if you could pass, but you did somehow.

What graduating should tell each and every one of you seniors is, you’re winners. Anything you set your minds to can be accomplished if you’re disciplined, work hard and want it bad enough. Sports have helped instill those intangibles in you.

When I go back home and I run into old friends, we talk about all of the things we did growing up. The main thing we always get around to talking about is our senior year and graduation day. When that happens, it’s always smiles and laughter because of the good times we had. For you seniors, I hope graduation day will be the coronation of your high school career.

What’s next — NMAA

“The NMAA staff will remain in constant communication with the governor’s office, the Public Education Department, the Department of Health and its member schools to provide all necessary updates as the situation continues to develop,” Dusty Young, associate director of the New Mexico Activities Association, said.

“A Special Board of Directors’ Meeting to further discuss the issue has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, at 9.a.m., and will be held via teleconference.”

The meeting will be to see if it is safe to continue athletic play, and how to redo the schedule with so much time lost. No one has a clue and if they do, they are not saying publicly. There are so many variables that will go into this decision with a lot coming from the president of the United States and the governor of New Mexico.

The one thing that should come out of this for everyone, whether you’re an athlete, parent, coach or teacher. Life is not promised to anyone, that playing a simple game is a privilege and not a right. As former Roswell softball coach Art Sandoval says, “Play every game like it is the last time you will ever play it, because one day it will be.”

Seniors, I hope you’ll have the chance to put on your uniform one more time, win or lose. I hope you’ll know what it means to represent your school, team, parents, and most of all — yourselves. More than anything, I hope you get to walk that aisle and celebrate with your classmates when they say, “Congratulations to the Class of 2020,” as you throw your mortarboards in the air and hug each other.

Those are the memories and experiences I hope you get to cherish.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.