De Los Santos: Losing a part of myself with sports

Thursday Thoughts Week 1 on Sports in COVID-19: Andres De Los Santos

The earliest memory I have of me playing sports is when I was seven. I was picking at the dandelions that were on the baseball field, while the rest of my team was waiting for the other team to hit the ball in their direction. That was my first introduction to sports, and although I was clearly more interested in the flowers instead of catching the baseball at the time, as I got older, my love for sports would only continue to grow. 

As I got older, I started playing more sports, whether it be on a team, or just for fun with my friends. I got more into football, basketball, baseball, badminton and even wrestled in high school for all four years. Sports simply became a part of who I was. And I wasn’t surprised by this, considering my whole family grew up playing sports. In high school, my mom played tennis, my dad played baseball, and my older sister played soccer. Sports have always been attached to my persona and my character in one way or another. 

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It was one of the main reasons why I decided to become a sports contributor at Oregon State. Not only have I always been a Beaver fan, but just a sports fan in general. I also understood that there are some athletes and sports that don’t get the recognition that they deserved. It’s one of the main reasons why I decided to write mainly for gymnastics and wrestling, simply because I believe that they deserve the same amount of recognition that football and basketball gets. After all, all athletes can relate to each other in some way.

Sports gave me something to look forward to and served as a distraction from the reality that is college. I was excited to see how the winter sports would end their seasons. I was excited to see the Oregon State Men’s Basketball team take on Oregon in the PAC-12 tournament in a Civil War rematch. I was excited to see the Oregon State Women’s Basketball team compete in March Madness. I was excited to see PAC-12 champion wrestler Devan Turner compete at the NCAA wrestling tournament and potentially become an All-American for OSU. I was excited to see Kaitlyn Yanish and Isis Lowery perform their amazing floor routines at the PAC-12 gymnastics championships. I was excited to attend my first Oregon State Baseball game, and hopefully watch the Beavers win another national title. 

But when the NCAA announced that both the winter sports and spring sports seasons were cancelled, my heart instantly fell to the floor. I didn’t know what to think, and I was overwhelmed with this feeling of sadness and disbelief. Sports have always played a huge part in my life, and with that gone, I simply didn’t know what to do. I felt as if I had lost a part of myself. 

I instantly began to miss everything about sports, from standing in line outside of Gill Coliseum for over an hour to get a good seat at the Men’s Basketball Civil War game, from hearing the crowd erupt in cheer when Mikayla Pivec score a game winning shot versus Arizona State, and even interviewing the athletes about their performance. With sports gone, a part of me was gone. Or so I thought. 

It took me a while to understand that although sports may be gone momentarily, they will not be gone forever. There will be better days ahead, better days where sports will be back. Repeating this mantra in my head has gotten me through this difficult time, and has taught me to not take the little things for granted. I just cannot wait for the day where I can sit in the stands of Reser Stadium or Gill Coliseum and cheer for the Beavers as they compete in the sports that I love so much.