Column: Being a senior in a “season four” sport by Lucy Menendez


Me bringing the ball down to court. Courtesy of SaderNation.

With only three weeks left of my Jesuit academic career, I am just now beginning my senior basketball season. 

This year has been unpredictable, but the biggest change for me  was the transition from our usual winter basketball season to basketball played in the summer. 

Governor Kate Brown announced that Oregon high school teams could  play indoor contact sports on April 20th. The following week, we held our first contact practice. We’ve now had about four weeks of live practices that have included scrimmages, defensive drills, and practicing at game-like speed. 

Winter sports seasons tend to run longer than the other sports seasons, ranging from workouts starting in late October to playoff games possibly ending in mid-March. We are now trying to jam a six-month season into a month and a half. 

Preparation has been key in forming our varsity team in the past. Scrimmaging and playing live months prior to our first game has been a helpful way to gauge what is working and what improvements are needed. With the late approval of indoor contact sports, it has been difficult to gauge how our team will compete against other teams. 

Personally, I haven’t played a real game since December of 2020 where I tore my ACL in the first few minutes of a holiday tournament game. The year and a half pause from the sport that I’ve played for years has been tough. I’m nervous to get on the court this week because I can’t say that I feel totally prepared. 

As comfortable as I am with my rehabilitation and recovery, It is nerve-racking to compete in a game after only scrimmaging for a couple of weeks. 

Additionally, while I am fired up to get back onto the court, I feel more checked out than I would be during winter. This year has been long, and like  other seniors, I have caught a devastating case of senioritis. This academic year has been so challenging for me to stay engaged because of COVID-19.

Even so, as May rolled around and I realized how little time I had left on Jesuit’s campus and with my friends, I began to feel nostalgic. I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends and classmates before we all have to leave each other. And the one obligation that I feel is holding me back from doing so is my month and a half long basketball season. 

I’ll have to find the balance between spending my final days with my friends and potentially competing for the last time with my team. It’s a really tough position to be in, especially during this pandemic year where I have missed out on valuable times with my friends due to quarantine. With the majority of my friends going to college in mid August, it feels like we’ll only have July free to squeeze in as much time as possible together. 

Also, because our season is so short, we will have to play two to three games a week. Three games a week is draining on any athlete’s mental and physical health. I won’t really be able to hang out and soak in the beginning of summer sun all day with my friends because I’ll have to prepare my body for either a two-hour practice or a competition. 

I try to not dwell on the sacrifices that I will have to make because I am so excited about playing after a year and a half anticipation, but with the circumstances of this year, it is tough. 

I plan to make the most out of my situation. I am pumped to compete for the first time in what feels like forever. This could be the last time I play basketball competitively, so I am thrilled to leave it all on the court.