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Our opinion: Doing what they can

Over these last three editions of the Herald we have been running a series by Rocky Hulne highlighting families with students in Austin Public Schools sports programs.

During this pandemic, our hearts go out to these athletes, who want nothing more than to be playing the sports they love with the friends they’ve been growing up with.

It’s unfair that many seniors won’t have the final seasons they want with the desired outcome they’ve been hoping for. Nothing about this is fair.

But there’s an underlying theme beneath all of this that can be a positive source of inspiration. They aren’t giving up and they are still working hard.

It must be said that these three families are only examples rather than exceptions. There are many more families and student-athletes that deserve to be looked up to for their work.

It would be unfortunate, if not understandable, if many of these athletes simply called it quits. There’s so many forces pulling from different directions that many might decide to ride out their final years in school.

But for the most part, we’ve heard positive stories of athletes just going out and playing and making the best of it.

This past Friday, sports editor Rocky Hulne was out with boys soccer head coach Jens Levisen. Rain had brought a premature end to practice, but in the background were four to five kids out and practicing on their own.

“They just want to get some touches in,” Levisen said, summing up the situation.

It’s easy to take high school sports for granted, especially if you don’t have an interest in it or simply enjoy it as a passing distraction.

But for many of these kids who put in so much time for a sport they love, there’s that inspiration that can’t be taken away. These are kids that are making the most of it.

Over the years, APS student-athletes, guided of course by their coaches, have been models of what high school athletes can be. It’s not necessarily reflected in wins and losses, but it’s reflected in the notice taken by other districts and other coaches.

It’s a reflection of the hard work demonstrated by these featured families and by so many athletes within Austin programs.

These are role models and we hope the community continues to recognize this dedication.