By Solai Alagappan, Georgia Allen, Hanna Medwar and Jennie Wang
All AHS sports were canceled from Friday to Sunday after the gas explosions in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence on Thursday afternoon.
After students were forced to evacuate their homes due to gas leaks on the 13th of September, they received a phone call from the school district around 5 p.m, saying that all sports and school-related activities would be canceled for the next few days. Among others, this included the field hockey and football games on Friday as well as the swim meet.
Football players were disappointed about missing their home opener.
Sophomore Jake Birnack said he was not only mad because he wanted to win against Billerica, but was upset about it being canceled because he was “so excited to go and socialize with his friends.”
However, Caleb Sigman, a sophomore football player, had a different view of the home opener being cancelled. Sigman saw the silver lining, as he stated that, due to the explosions, the varsity Andover and Lawrence football teams had been receiving an enormous amount of publicity. A major social media account called What’s the Word Massachusetts promoted the Friday game against Lawrence Academy, calling it the Rivalry of the Week. Sigman said he “would not be surprised if all the stands were filled with people” when the game is rescheduled.
Mr. Martin, the Athletic Director, said that he is collaborating with other teams, including Lawrence and Billerica, to plan the rescheduled football game, and that rescheduling the game, at the time, “was the smartest thing to do with the uncertainty that was going on in our community.” Martin added that it was “very rare for football games to be canceled during the season,” so the planning would take longer. Martin said it will likely be scheduled to week 8, 9, or 10 of the football season.
Sigman added, “It hasn’t been, easy getting back into the swing of things, as we missed four days of practice. We were rusty the first practice back but we will get back on track soon.”
After practice around 5 p.m. last Thursday, the field hockey team was at a pasta dinner when they received the shocking news. Each player received phone calls from their parents telling them they had to leave immediately, as they were being forced to leave their houses. Confusion and fear spread throughout the team, as each player was in a panic to leave and evacuate as soon as possible.
“It’s been really hard to get back on track as its been tough to lose another practice before our next game,” said sophomore Kelley Ross, a JV field hockey player. Ross said both JV and varsity lost three days of practices and missed their home opener.
Sophomore Heather Graham said that missing practice put the whole team in a “bad position” and they were going to have to “work even harder than [they] normally have been in practices to make up for the missed time.”
The field hockey game against Dracut was rescheduled to Thursday, Sept. 20.
Last Thursday, Principal Conrad was watching the swim meet to support the team. He soon received a call, telling students to evacuate the Voke (the school where the swimmers practice). One by one, swimmers and divers got calls from their parents who had come to pick them up. Traffic was getting worse, and many found it hard to get away from the school. The swim and dive team canceled their Friday practice to insure the safety of the team members.
“We have two meets this week and we only had two days of practice so it might affect how we do in the meet because we have one less practice,” says Ruby Flood, a freshman diver on the team.
Freshman swimmer Charlotte Moulson added, “I don’t like that the other teams were practicing while we couldn’t because it’s a very big disadvantage. It has made it very hard to come back after we’ve had a long break.“
Not only were the athletes disappointed, but the students who were about to attend the games were as well. Freshman Sophia Montanez was originally going to see the field hockey home game.
After the gas leak, Montanez said, “I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to go to the game, but it was pretty understandable considering people’s safety and whatnot. A game really isn’t important compared to that.”
This is one in a series of articles reported by the students of the Newspaper Production class following gas explosions and fires in Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover last week.