Processing the Difficult COVID-19 Update on Athletics


In light of Governor Whitmer closing school buildings and moving all education online for the remainder of the school year on April 2, the MHSAA followed this action on April 3 with the difficult choice to cancel the remaining winter tournaments and the entire spring sports season .

To say the events over the last few weeks were unexpected is a gross understatement.  Now, the canceling of spring sports at Holland Christian is something I never dreamed could happen.  It is devastating to the hundreds of people involved in them, but especially to our student-athletes.  Athletes include our state swimmers and divers not participating in their MHSAA finals and about 450 middle school and high school athletes planning to play a spring sport. Tears form in my eyes when I consider conversations between spring coaches and their senior athletes.  For many of us, sports is the most important thing of our non-important (non-essential) things because sports is more than just the sport. Over the last few weeks you probably reminisced about favorite experiences, discussed how to deal with the current situation and revelled in potential successes for you and your team.  Teams share common experiences that carry immense weight and are formative to the development of who we are. Sports bring people together. I conceptually understand the need to remove the spring season, but the feelings experienced as a result of canceling leave us relationally depleted. Every one of us has wrestling emotions, but our identity remains at the heart of this challenge.  The developments around the virus occur daily and establish an updated perspective as the pandemic spreads. Some of us know first hand all too well how real COVID-19 is to ourselves, family or someone we know. Our community must face this adversity head on and we must give full effort to combat this virus as a team no matter who is directly affected. And, we must give full effort despite the fact that now sports are one of the costs of doing so.  God tells us over and over again through scripture that “He is with us” and “do not fear.” Our identity in God’s Kingdom is built on Christ’s kingship and love for us and our responding love for Him and one another regardless of our circumstances. God is in control. How we think, talk and act during this season is an opportunity to lift up those who are struggling and in turn show the hope that we have. There are no words to take away the extreme disappointment, but our coaching staff is connecting with athletes and hopefully carrying some small piece of this loss.  Continue engaging with each other by talking about our great memories, present opportunities and future hopes. Regardless of who you are, now is the time to write a note, snapchat encouragement, connect on zoom or facetime, make the phone call, text a picture and continue following us on social media. We are not completely isolated and this is not forever… We will be back. This virus is not an exchange for life lessons, but there is a big lesson waiting for us down the road. We will all have an extra measure of gratitude at the next sports experience with teammates, the next chance to get back into an athletic facility and to simply have sports back in our lives.  This setback will be over and we are going to get through it together until that time. For now, be the teammate today that you will be proud of a year from now. We got this. Go Maroons.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Dave Engbers, Athletic Director