MSHSL cancellation of spring activities was expected, but no less heartbreaking for local schools

The Minnesota State High School League announced the cancellation of all spring activities in response to Governor Tim Walz's Executive Order

MOORHEAD, Minn. — When the news was announced that the remainder of the spring sports season had been canceled in Minnesota, schools weren’t exactly blindsided by the decision, but that didn’t make the blow any easier to take.

“We kind of saw it coming, but once it finally does, it’s that punch in the gut,” said Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton activities director, Joe O’Keefe. “You just feel horrible for the coaches and more importantly those athletes.”

The decision was a difficult one for the MSHSL, who had been in constant communication with athletic directors in Minnesota since activities were first suspended on March 15th.

“Part of why we had felt maybe there is a chance is because the state high school league is kid-first in Minnesota and they really believed if at all possible, we were going to get back to some sort of resumption in activities,” said Moorhead high school activities director Dean Haugo. “We knew that they did not take this decision lightly. They took it very seriously. They knew the impact it was going to have on students.”

That could be where this weight is felt heaviest; the kids who are missing out on a full season of play. For some of them, they are missing out on their final season as a high school athlete.

“That’s the biggest heartbreak we feel is those senior athletes,” says O’Keefe. “I know the coaches were doing a great job reaching out because they were the biggest advocates for them. It’s just disappointing. They work so hard and to have it cut short like this is very unfortunate.”

It’s unclear how exactly the next few months will play out, but schools are hopeful they can find a way to give their students the ending to their careers that they deserve.

“I hope that as school districts and as a state, we can find a way in all of this to find some semblance of closure for those kids because I think a lot of them are just feeling like it ended without any sort of finality,” says Haugo. “Hopefully we can find our way over the next few months to celebrate these kids in some capacity.”

Until then, the focus will be on returning to the fields as soon as it is safe to do so. There may not be a spring to plan for, but the schools are looking forward to the next season.

“If you come to Moorhead High on a given day in the months of June and July, there are hundreds of kids in and out of this facility. There is a lot of activity that happens in our school district in the summer and now we need to get into the mode of figuring out what that looks like,” added Haugo.

Planning for the future gives these schools a new sense of hope; that it won’t be long before things go back to the way they are suppose to be.

“I can’t wait until we get back to normal, whatever normal will be,” says O’Keefe. We need to be competing. We need people in the stands. We need to get back to what we are use to.”

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