Walt Whitman High School baseball player reflects on lost senior season

whitman baseball pitcher
Walt Whitman High’s Bennett Solomon appears on the mound. (Courtesy Joey Sussman)

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Bennett Solomon wasn’t supposed to be sitting in front a computer screen on the first day of April, speaking with a reporter via FaceTime about life in the time of the coronavirus.

Instead, the 18-year-old Walt Whitman High senior was supposed to be in his Vikings baseball uniform, ready to take on a rival team and enjoy his last high school sports season before heading off to college.

In a piece for the high school’s online news site, the Black and White, Solomon wrote about seeing his coach tear up after a practice on March 12 — what would become the last practice before schools closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Solomon described how it seemed clear to his coach that this was likely the final practice of the season. He also detailed how he was feeling about the realization that high school seniors across the U.S. had to come to: There wouldn’t be a senior season.

“We won’t get a chance to compete,” Solomon wrote in the piece, which is titled “Dear spring athletes. “A chance to win the region. A chance to get back to States. And the most devastating part: We won’t be able to do what we love the most.”

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Solomon said he understands the seriousness of the coronavirus and the stay-at-home orders that have come with it.

However, he said the lack of access to facilities for young athletes is frustrating.

“I mean you can’t even go into a public place right now and throw a baseball,” he said.

He also said being separated from his teammates has been painful.

“I’ve been playing sports my whole life, and for me to not be able to do that with them and have fun? It sucks,” he said.

Instead, Solomon has been passing the time by preparing for online instruction.

As a high school senior, he’ll have to make sure his graduation requirements are fulfilled. He said his student service learning hours, where students have to take part in community work, have been completed.

Solomon said many student and teachers have done instruction and classwork online, so that hasn’t been much of an adjustment.

But not attending school at all and not knowing if they’ll be back for certain after April 24 “is definitely going to be different,” he said.

“I just want to graduate and get this over with,” Solomon said.

In one part of the online essay, Solomon sounds less like a high school athlete preparing for the future and more like an old soul, as he addresses underclassmen who’ll be back at Whitman next year.

“Put your jersey on with pride,” Solomon wrote. “Don’t play for yourself, play for the Vikes and for your teammates. Cherish your time as a part of Whitman athletics because you’ll never know when it’s going to come to an end.”

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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