It was, as described by Director of Athletics and Afternoon Programs Herb Haller '85, the "most complicated and interrupted season to date." Despite this truth, earlier this week Western Reserve Academy found plenty of reasons to honor and celebrate our tenacious athletes. The Winter Athletics Awards, held in the Chapel and streamed virtually, were a bright spot amid a challenging climate for team sports at WRA and across the country.
Haller opened Wednesday's awards by thanking the entire WRA community, many of whom contributed in unique ways to make practices and games possible. Above all, he thanked the student-athletes.
"I'm thankful for your perseverance, commitment and resolve to play the cards you were dealt," he shared proudly.
It was a season punctuated by unexpected but necessary interruptions. In late November, after only three weeks of winter athletic practices, WRA moved to a temporary distance learning model to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in the community, but in doing so, lost six weeks of the planned athletic season. Classes resumed in-person on January 5, 2021, and while the season started up once again with gusto, the schedule halted still again with a one-week pause in learning in the final week of February.
But Pioneers are nothing if not resilient! Before Haller handed the mic over to the coaches, he closed his remarks by saying, "I am thankful for the times together." That sentiment was echoed by all the coaches as they recapped memorable seasons and bestowed their awards. Among the highlights of the ceremony were the many heartfelt remarks and anecdotes shared about each of the 27 award winners. The common thread was how the student-athletes showed great spirit and optimism and played their hardest for the sheer love of the game.
We are proud of all of our athletes for what Boys Basketball Coach Pete Hutchins calls "intangibles" -- those hard-to-define talents and traits that helped them weather this winter season with hard work, humility, good humor and perseverance. Congratulations, Pioneers!