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Senior Athlete Perspective
Natalie Lopez-Durel

I always imagined my senior year to be full of exhilarating and exciting moments with my friends and teammates. I could see myself pushing through my last rowing practice, celebrating a win against GPS, and finishing my last season knowing I left nothing behind.

Now, as I sit at home, I realize that I can’t remember my last practice, and I have already had my last race. After four years of morning practice, Saturday workouts, and film review, my time as a Baylor athlete has come to an end. Truthfully, I am not certain of how I feel. My emotions are mixed with frustration, sadness, and gratitude. While the spring season certainly didn’t end how any of us expected it to, I am unbelievably grateful that I was able to make so many memories in my own sport and in celebrating other sports. I want to use this opportunity to share some words from some of the people who love Baylor’s athletic program as much as I do.

In a message to senior rowers, coach Anders Swanson stated that “The absence of this spring season has left a hole in each day that cannot be filled.” Athletes dedicate so much of their time to their sport and to their team, and as a school we all feel the emptiness of losing such a promising spring season for all teams.

Senior Sierra Ross shared with me what losing senior sports meant to her. “It’s hard to have something taken from you that you tack on as your identity.” The sport we play becomes such a large part of who we are, simply because we dedicate so much of our time and energy to it. When the thing you love and have worked so hard for is taken away, it is easy to feel as though a part of yourself--your identity--missing.

Senior baseball player Christian Martin said, “I am not sour or upset about [the spring season ending] because ultimately I can’t control it and neither can the school, so I can’t sit and dwell on it.” As students, athletes, and members of the Baylor community, it is important for us to recognize that there are some things we cannot control. We could not control how COVID-19 would affect our spring seasons, but once realizing that it is out of our hands, we can turn to look at the positive side of the situation and look back on the experiences we have had.

Defne Bozbey’s mentality on the tennis court gives insight to how we can handle our current situations. “On the court”, she explains, “only I can make the decision for what will happen in a point, and if what I hoped and worked for did not work out exactly as I had planned, then I learned to either shake it off or fix what I did wrong.” Much like how Bozbey approaches a match, we must understand that we have control over our reactions to life’s challenges and can grow from our mistakes.

It can be difficult and frustrating to imagine all of the things that could have been if the spring season hadn’t been cut short. Because of this, on behalf of all senior athletes, I hope that all of the students returning to Baylor next year will give everything they have to their teams and show what hard work and dedication can do. Make every season memorable and treat every game, match, or race as if it’s your last- because you never know where life may take you.

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