Photo By Frankie Lopez (check out more of his work @frankielopez on unsplash.com)
August 17th, 2020
By Eli Elstein
The Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences have announced they will no longer have a 2020 College Football Season. This is an unfortunate end for all student athletes and coaches alike. Unlike in professional sports, actions in college sports have an interesting community effect. This premature collapse changes how alumni, students, faculty, and staff live their daily lives. The pandemic obviously changes things more drastically, but many students who put their time and energy into making the games fun now have a colossal hole where the only activity that gave them a break from school used to be. Managers, cheerleaders, marketing interns, dance team members, and even the oft-ignored folks in the marching bands have to pick up the pieces of this lost season as well.
I had the wonderful experience of being part of the Mighty Sound of Maryland, the University of Maryland’s own marching band. A scared freshman walked onto campus and immediately had a community of people who shared a love of music and spirit to talk to. By the time that scared freshman graduated, he had friends for life and experiences he will remember forever. Of course, this could be said for any of the other groups that work to make football games entertaining. All of these groups allow students to work towards something with people they care about that might not be related to their major. That break allows students to not feel the burden of a degree looming over their head all the time.
Students all over the country are feeling as though they have lost something dear to them. I can’t blame them. I feel the hurt and I am no longer a student in a marching band. On the scale of things, this truly doesn’t hit well above a 4 as people are dying from a horrible disease and citizens everywhere in the world are fighting for equality. But for the people the college football season affects, this reality has the potential to destroy hope.
My band director in high school told me to never give up music. He said that even if I stop performing, I should seek out live music and new genres that interest me. It seemed to me as though he was telling me the best things he’s experienced in music, and beyond, are those things he experienced himself. That lesson is something I’m thinking about while writing this. It’s dawned on me, as it has dawned on many students this summer, that they may not get another chance to march with their friends, play music they love, and wear the pride of their school on their chests.
I’ve seen petitions to get conferences to allow students to play. I’ve heard rumors of spring football and spring bands. I’m not sure if any of these will or should happen. But either way, the season won’t go as planned. The children who are trying to find themselves in the activities they love are distraught. Things in the world may never be the same.
On Enter Your Week With Eli I like to give a hopeful spin with a message if I can. This story feels different because it hits so close to home for me. But I will leave you with this: It doesn’t matter if the season is canceled or if you lose a year of your life. It doesn’t matter if you can’t return to the things you love. What does matter is that everything worth loving doesn’t last forever, and that there is always more life to live after they end. I hope everyone reading this who has lost something due to this pandemic (probably everyone) knows that some new genre of music or a new band will come into your life, whether you know it or not.