Scrimmages replace games as athletes celebrate senior night

Kamm Kojima, Staff Writer

As basketball players raced across the court, sounds of squeaking shoes and coaches shouting filled the gym, void of its usual cheering fans. Each kick and bounce was heard as coaches yell, and fans were obsolete this year. Instead of family and friends wearing senior shirts, half-time entertainment and chants of “Let’s go owls!,” they held one Facebook Live and a drive-thru. 

On Thursday, Feb. 27 and Friday, Feb. 28, Mid-Pacific’s athletic department hosted boys and girls basketball and soccer non-official games.

However, athletes didn’t expect a game this season since ILH canceled games for wrestling, paddling, basketball and soccer.

“I didn’t expect there to be a proper game, but I did think there was going to be something for the seniors,” said Mikayla Oshiro, freshmen soccer player. 

Soccer hosted a coed scrimmage and basketball players competed in an inter-squad scrimmage.

“Having that game and actually competing against each other, 100 percent, that was super good for them,” said Apollo Espania, junior basketball player.

Athletes who were online or didn’t show up for practices could not play in the game but could watch in person. 

 “I was super excited because I didn’t think I would be able to go to the game. I thought I would just spectate it online,” said Sarae Miguel senior basketball player, who stopped practicing in thoughts of not having a game.

It was probably one of the best experiences of the year so far.”

— Lauren Hiyashi, junior

When the game started, players said they were nervous as this was their first and only game of the season.

“During the game, a lot of our nerves were out because we haven’t played a game since states. But it was probably one of the best experiences of the year so far,” said Lauren Hayashi, junior basketball player. 

Oshiro said she was scared to play her first game with varsity players. 

“It was a little intimidating because they’re all so much older and taller than me, and I’m really small,” said Oshiro. 

Fans were also not there to cheer and encourage athletes. 

“We had to draw on each other’s energy, and it really tested us as players, on if we had it in us to keep going,” said Hayashi. 

Hayashi also said it was weird not having her parents at her game. 

“It felt really weird not having my parents there. My parents have never really missed a game, and I’m so used to them being on the sideline yelling their side comments,” said Hayashi. 

Others were not bothered with the audience’s absence. 

“It actually felt pretty normal because when you play the game of basketball, the only time you get the crowd involved is if you get the crowd involved,” said Ezra Michel, senior basketball player. 

As athletes played their game, fans cheered them on with a safe distance through Facebook Live on the athletic department’s page. 

“The seniors last year that graduated, I know some of them tuned in to watch us, and the family and friends of the seniors got to watch. Even though they weren’t there, they still got to watch them play their last game,” said Espania. 

Hayashi said she too liked the idea of a live stream. 

 “It’s a really good idea to live stream these games and live stream athletic events, kind of like how other schools have been doing it,” said Hayashi. 

However, because athletes were playing a contact sport players couldn’t come to school until three days after the game, including the weekend. 

“I only really had two classes because I had a free period and P.E., and I didn’t have to log in for those,” said Oshiro. 

For others, going back made them appreciate in-person learning. 

“Having to go online for that one day, you realize how much you are missing out, and you just feel like you are just so disconnected from your school,” said Hayashi. 

Along with the game, the athletic department streamed a small recognition ceremony where athletes received gifts and a message from the underclassmen. 

“Once your teammates give their speeches, their compliments, their farewells, that’s like the most depth that you put on the team and each individual person,” said Michel. 

A drive-thru for the seniors ended each game night. 

“The drive-thru was super organized. I know once in a while someone would forget to stay in their car,” said Miguel. 

Hayashi said it was similar to what would have happened if not for covid.

“I actually had phoned my parents that it looked like an actual graduation by the amount of support people showed for the seniors,” said Hayashi. 

However, Michel said it was different than a normal senior night. 

“We would give air high fives, air hugs, but it was a little weird not to hug your family members and friends,” said Michel.

Despite the changes, some athletes were able to end their high school sport career. 

“Once the clock hits zero, zero, you know it’s the last time. It really hits you deep. You get to reflect on everything that happened in the season,” said Michel.