‘What else can I say but that soccer is my favorite thing?’: On losing a fall 2020 season

A man in a white soccer kit readies to kick a ball on a soccer pitch at night.
“We all have some sort of guiding force through the pandemic. Something to look forward to when we get to the other side, a sense of stability. For me, that’s soccer,” writes Harper Rubin CM ’21. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

Wednesday, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletes found out that “high-risk” sports will not be competing in the fall. Losing a season is probably among the lesser sacrifices we will have to make because of COVID-19. But it’s a gut punch. There’s no doubt about that.

Athletes found out in a Zoom meeting where emotional CMS athletics staff explained their decision-making process.

In the midst of talking about student-athlete eligibility and deferment, assistant athletic director Nikki Ayers’ internet connection cut out, leaving the meeting in a type of awkward silence we have all become accustomed to these last few months. How appropriate. I think we’re all tired of Zoom.

I don’t have anything especially comforting to say about the cancellation. Hell, it’s probably not even the worst news I’ll hear today. But as a CMS soccer player, I can speak to how I’m feeling.

What else can I say but that soccer is my favorite thing?

That I hop the fence to Pritzlaff Field on Sunday nights in the spring just to dribble around and pass the ball off the bleachers. It’s so quiet there. And the grass smells amazing.

Also, that I love to dribble around on Parents Field after the sun goes down, almost in the dark except for the floodlights from the pool that stay on while people play innertube water polo.

It’s my favorite thing. And I could do it at any time, with anyone, in any place. High level, recreational league or pick up. And I miss it.

It’s looking like it may be another year before I get to play again. That time frame looks daunting. But something else that I’ve thought about recently is that sports will be back again.

We all have some sort of guiding force through the pandemic. Something to look forward to when we get to the other side, a sense of stability. For me, that’s soccer.

It’s nice to think about the fact that, eventually, people will fill stadiums again. And athletes will do amazing things like hit game-winning shots and score last-minute goals.

In response, everyone will be excited or angry or sad. Some people will make a little money betting on games. More people will lose a little money. My dad will check scores compulsively while at work. And there will be an NBA champion.

Whatever it is, at least it will be together and in-person. At least it won’t be over Zoom.

Harper Rubin CM 21 plays as a midfielder for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps soccer team. 

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