UIL extends suspension through May 4

Sealy coaches express frustration

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“The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is extending its suspension of all UIL sanctioned activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas,” a release from Thursday afternoon states. “All contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts will remain suspended until further notice.

“At this time, the earliest games and contests may resume is Monday, May 4th,” it continues. “Prior to this date, the UIL will allow its member schools a reasonable acclimatization period for rehearsals and practices to occur. “

Although there was no playoff update in the release, UIL Director of Athletics Susan Eliza said that information will be announced “in the coming days.”

“We will be providing more guidance on district and post-season date adjustments related to this extension in the coming days,” she said in an email to superintendents across the state. “We will be as flexible as possible to help you complete district competitions and provide your students with all of the benefits that come from competition. Please do not begin to make plans for district competition prior to receiving this additional information.”

About an hour before the announcement was made, Sealy girls’ soccer coach Adrian Rocha said in a phone interview that the suspension has been getting “frustrating.”

“It’s just shocking,” he said. “You’re waiting, day by day, week by week of what’s to come. Things are just in the air. I see things from a teacher’s perspective and I see things from a coach’s perspective but it is getting frustrating.

“I am getting frustrated,” he continued, “because you have a normal routine and you get to see your students. Now, all of a sudden, you’re not going to for another, maybe three weeks; you do miss them.”

With classes starting online earlier this week, he looked forward to having regular communication with his students again and looked forward to turning this into a life lesson for his athletes as well.

“This is life, things happen that we have no control over,” he said. “You’re about to go into the real world where this stuff happens. You just have to hold on to those memories and hold on to what you have accomplished. I always tell them to take every moment like it’s your last, you have to appreciate every moment because you never know what’s gonna happen.”

Of course, there’s never a good time for a shutdown but on the baseball diamond, Dane Bennett’s club was just picking up steam coming out of tournament play and fine-tuning the arsenal for its district slate.

“My first thought was disappointment because going into district, I felt like as a team after our last two tournaments we’re starting to really grow,” Bennett said Thursday afternoon shortly before the suspension was extended. “We were bonding as a team and it finally felt like instead of going uphill, we were starting to get to the top of the hill. We were making the turn as a team to being more consistent and understanding what our roles were and how to win baseball games.”

He was hopeful that somehow a district tournament can shake out playoff teams but mainly feels for the memories lost in the meantime.

“I still think there’s a chance to play out the season,” Bennett said. “Those are life-long memories that you have with your brothers and that’s stuff you cherish and remember no matter what the season was; whether it was a great season, or the worst season. There are so many things you take from the dugout, on the bus rides, the practice and the grind all that stuff. I hope we get that chance to finish that off the right way.”

However, in this sort of purgatory, he hopes all of the student-athletes have the reaffirming thought process of what initially led them to the sports they’re missing so much now.

“It allows all of our players the ability to remember why we all play (the) sport,” Bennett said of this interlude. “Why we love it and we’re passionate about it. Not being able to be on the (field) together with your brothers (and sisters), playing the game you love; that’s frustrating and disappointing. I think for all of our players that’s something they’ll get to remember is the love and joy of what (their sport) brings to us and the community and the school.”

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