“Warm sunny days, missing time spent with the players, and just not able to play this great sport has been very difficult,” said Lincolnwood softball coach Greg Neisler, in regards to what the toughest part of the postponement of the Lady Lancers 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the death of Lincolnwood senior Austin Krager, brother of infielder Cassie Krager, ended the 2019 campaign early, it would have been nice to get 2020 off to a strong start, something that just hasn’t been in the cards so far.
“We have tried to stay positive throughout this situation,” Neisler said. “We are holding on to the IHSA’s optimism of a possible shortened season and the discussion of postseason calendar adjustments.”
Neisler added that the postponements have been particularly tough for the team’s two seniors, Sydney Herman and Kyra Shull, as well as the players on his team who are looking at continuing their softball careers at the next level.
“It is very disappointing to the girls that have worked so hard in the off-season and the girls that may have aspirations of playing beyond high school,” Neisler said. “Furthermore, we have new players that were just anxious to be part of the team and try to learn a new sport. I can only imagine their disappointment as well.”
Neisler said that the thought briefly crossed the coaching staff’s mind to have the team get together and work on their own in mid-March, but as the COVID-19 virus spread, those ideas were put aside for the safety of the players.
“The decision was made to follow the social distancing orders as player well-being comes first,” Neisler said. “We have suggested that players can work out at home within their own family.”
The veteran head coach and teacher has also seen his team come together as a group in this crisis as several suited up in their uniforms for a game of virtual catch via the video platform TikTok.
Those fun moments are even more crucial after the tragic end to the 2019 season and the disappointing start to the 2020 campaign.
“We try to appreciate each day and the many blessings within each day,” Neisler said. “Never take things for granted. The joys of life are a gift. Live each day to the fullest. We do not know what tomorrow holds. It gives a new perspective to the old saying, ‘Leave it all on the field.’”