THE UNKOWN: Lansingburgh softball juggles emotions with season on the line this spring

Troy Record-9 months before

For Lansingburgh Softball, they are in the same boat as every other team in Section II. They hold their breath and await good news. 

"Everything is really up in the air right now. Everything is so unknown that I don't think anyone knows quite how to feel or how to process it yet," said Lansingburgh Head Coach Carrie Smith. 

In this confusing time, there are little answers. Section II has officially suspended all competition until April 30, but that doesn't mean teams can officially play after that. The safety of the students is first and foremost for every coach in the se...tion, and for Smith, keeping her team as well informed, as well as keeping things positive, is a tough tight rope to walk. 

"They are definitely worried and are asking a lot of questions. I feel bad because I don't have any answers for them, whatsoever," said Smith. "They are upset and feeling defeated. I have talked to a few of my seniors and they are worried about their senior night, and worried about this being their last season, and their last chance to play softball, and that being possibly taken away from them."

"We're trying to stay positive, but it is really hard to keep them motivated or their spirits up when there is so much left unknown. We don't know if we are coming back for any part of the season, if it is going to be cancelled all together, and for them, I think they are having a real tough time processing it because this is such a big time of the year being the last sports season."

The spring season is also the time of graduation and prom for the seniors. Smith has noticed that the threat of missing all of their senior milestones is taking a toll on her leadership group. 

"They are definitely down. They are feeling pretty sad about it," said Smith. "We are trying to keep their spirits up and I feel bad. I am trying to give them a little bit of hope that we may be able to get back for a week or two in the season, maybe get a couple games in this season, so keep working on your skills at home."

Smith is doing the best she can to give her the team the resources to continue preparation in hopes for the season. The issue Smith is finding is that some players don't have access to a lot of space to do drills or practice in, and she doesn't want to send her players to parks and play with other people. 

"I am really leaving it up to them and saying if they can get outside and play catch with a family member, go for it," said Smith. "If they have the equipment, go in the backyard and get a couple of swings in, go for it. I've been really telling them to not waste everything we have been working for. We have been putting in work the entire offseason. We have been in the gym, in the cage, and they've been putting in all this work since January, so don't just sit at home now."

Smith has also faced the fact that it would be easy for her team to question the purpose of working out if the season never comes. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are saying, 'Why? For what? I'm not going to waste my time, if we're not going to play,'" said Smith. 

The best way to avoid the feeling of dejection by the team is for Smith to remain positive, and she has through and through. But, Smith's compassion and sympathy allows her to feel and understand her team's thoughts, even if she doesn't feel the same. 

"It's hard for me to say, 'No don't think that way, keep going,' when in the back of my head I'm thinking, 'You may feel right,'" said Smith. 

Lansingburgh Softball was in a comfortable situation entering the 2020 spring season. Smith was excited about the turn out from try outs and felt she bolstered her roster with a lot of returners who stepped up this offseason. 

"We lost a couple of big names last year, but this was the year for people to step up and prove themselves," said Smith. "We have a lot of girls that can play almost anywhere and this was kind of the year they were looking forward to and this was the year they were going to get their shot to play the positions they were hoping to take over the last couple of years."

"We were thinking this season had the chance to be a pretty big positive season for us," said Smith. 

Lansingburgh graduated four year starting short stop Madison Teta and the main starting pitcher from last season, Julia Thompson. 

"Those are two really big leadership positions and we had girls ready to step up," said Smith. "They were going to fill those spots almost seamlessly. It's frustrating for me, but almost more so for them, because they were finally going to get their chance prove how valuable they were going to be for the team."

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association will make a decision on Spring Championships on, or by, April 27, three days before the Section II suspension is lifted. What the NYSPHSAA decides will be a good indicator on how Section II decides to move forward for this season. 

Lansingburgh Softball has a tough road ahead of them with a long month to keep a positive head. 

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