When I learned that CBA students would be missing an extended amount of time due to the coronavirus, I’d be lying if I said that the possibility of missing out on my final high school sailing season was the first thing that jumped into my mind.
At this time, I’m not a sailor before all else. These trying times have made stripping life down to its bare essentials mandatory for everyone. My identity as a son, a brother, and a grandson now define me much more than my commitment to my sport does. However, this fact doesn’t mean that having my final season of the sport I love ripped away from me pains me any less.
Through high school sailing, I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve experienced days out on the water when I’m locked in an unbreakable rhythm, feeling through every shift on the course, and firing off impressive finishes race after race. I’ve also had excruciating days out on the water when no such rhythm could be found at all.
No matter the results, two things remained constant: the support of my teammates and the guiding presence of my coaches. My coaches and teammates have stuck with me through thick and thin, and have been the embodiment of constancy in my life during my time on the team. Not only are my teammates great supporters, they are also unceasing motivators. As an underclassman, talented sailors of years past demonstrated what it takes to find consistent success in sailing, and my teammates today - no matter their grade level - continue to challenge me to be the best version of myself out on the water each day.
I can’t predict the future of this outbreak. I may have already sailed my final race with the three letters across my chest. I can’t let the despair associated with that possibility get in the way of recognizing all the good that has come from my time spent with the team.
I know that when I think back to my high school sailing days, it won’t be the highs or the lows of my sailing performances that I will remember. Instead, I will most remember the gratifying struggle that myself and my teammates took part in for six months a year, and how that struggle helped me learn and grow both as a sailor and as a young man trying to make sense of the world.
- Matthew Bell '20