Mayor de Blasio suspends PSAL activities indefinitely amid Coronavirus panic

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On Thursday, March 12, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all after school programs are suspended until further notice. The mayor’s statement said, “Non-essential, non-instructional activities [will be] altered… That includes PSAL activities, games, and practices…” This news came right after many teams in Townsend Harris began the spring season. The decision to suspend athletics indefinitely produced an array of reactions from teams, especially senior members. 

The spring season represents a senior’s final season competing in the PSAL and its suspension carries considerable weight for them. Senior Joe Guartan, a member of boys’ volleyball, said, “I am really bummed out with the decision because my teammates and I were really looking forward to this season. Hopefully [the mayor] will allow us to participate in our activities soon.”

Co-captain of the girls’ flag football team and senior Kelsey Zhen also weighed in on the decision. “[I feel that] PSAL sports should be continued. I really hope that it resumes as soon as possible because these experiences only happen once in a lifetime as a senior,” she said.“As a senior, I know that I’ve practiced for years to get better, so that now, we can show others the same love that we’ve adopted for our sport.” Senior member of the baseball team Nile Johnson echoed these sentiments, saying, “Every year you see a group of players leave the game, putting everything they have, and dealing with the fact it’s their last chance to play competitively again.” However, Nile acknowledged, “[Mayor De Blasio] definitely made the right call. At the end of the day, health comes first.”

For non-seniors, the news of suspension still impacts them greatly. Junior Kanny Ho Fang, a member of the girls’ badminton team said that, “I’m disappointed that our season was interrupted so abruptly. I was really looking forward to the season and growing as a part of the team.” Kanny also noted that with the season being suspended, she now has “more free time to focus on schoolwork and APs, as well as relax and get rid of some stress.”

Athletic Director Lauren Caiaccia also commented on the suspension. Ms. Caiaccia said, “Although it is above my authority to make these decisions, we need to make sure that our athletes are informed about the situation so they know how to handle it. Our priority is to make sure we don’t jeopardize our athletes and coaches.” When asked about how the athletic department will be moving forward, Ms. Caiaccia said, “It’s just something we will have to take day by day.”’

Suspending the PSAL spring season has disappointed many athletes around Townsend Harris. However, the athletes understand the reality of the situation and agree that their health should be the number one priority. The news also hasn’t discouraged them from looking forward to activities potentially being resumed. “I can still see my senior moment… Hopefully it’s on a scalding hot June day with the playoffs on the line,” said Nile.

Photo courtesy of Savannah Sclafani.