SHC vs COVID-19: The Fight for the 2020 Bruce Mahoney

Photo+Credit%3A+SHC+Athletic+Department

Photo Credit: SHC Athletic Department

Ava Brasch ‘21 & Benjamin Cervantez ‘21, Emerald Sports Editors, co-wrote this article. 

As many know, over the past few months, an infectious and life-threatening disease known as COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has rapidly diffused throughout the World. Though COVID-19 primarily targets those with compromised immune systems, according to the  World Economic Forum, the virus has been prominent in those between the ages of 20-44 as well, and those under the age of 19. Nearly all US schools have been closed indefinitely along with other school-related functions in order to “flatten the curve” of those who may possibly contract the disease or spread it as carriers. The baseball season, which hosts the final round of the Bruce Mahoney, has been canceled, although a small possibility of playing an exhibition game over summer to decide the trophy remains a possibility. Though it is important to consistently maintain an optimistic outlook amongst such a severe global disaster, with no signs of the crisis improving, it appears highly probable that the 2019-2020 Bruce-Mahoney series will end in a draw. 

The Bruce-Mahoney game has been an integral part of the storied rivalry between the Sacred Heart Cathedral Fighting Irish and the Saint Ignatius Wildcats. The Bruce-Mahoney trophy embodies the rivalry that students, players, and alumni have been fighting for since the rivalry first started on Thanksgiving of 1892! This fall, the Fighting Irish suffered a 28-14 defeat on the gridiron, and things looked dim for our chances of keeping Bruce-Mahoney where it belongs 一 1055 Ellis Street. Luckily, the Fighting Irish basketball team gave our community hope after a 84-77 over the Wildcats. With both schools looking forward to duking it out for the elusive 2nd win, tragedy struck. First, Oracle Park canceled any events held there. Eventually, the school was shut down, and finally, the baseball season was canceled. What would happen to the Bruce-Mahoney trophy, the symbol of the longest high school rivalry this side of the Mississippi? The baseball players who have been working hard all year to play for the rights to the trophy may have the answers. 

“We’ll play in the summer. We’ll play them in hazmat suits, I don’t care. I just want to go out and win that ball game.””

— Owen Stevenson '20

With multiple Division 1 commits and 4-1 record, the Fighting Irish were feeling confident the trophy would return home this spring. They haven’t gotten the chance to prove themselves on the field, but they had plenty to say on the subject. Senior third baseman Chris Rodriguez claimed, “I really thought this was our year. This is what we’ve been working for since we lost the CCS Championships last year, and it sucks we can’t play the game now.” Others were more optimistic: senior Harvard commit Uday Narratom said, “We aren’t gonna let the coronavirus beat us: we still want to play SI sometime over the summer. We’ve been staying ready and we know we can beat ‘em.” A junior for the SI Wildcats responded by saying, “Safety is the most important thing, and if that means we can’t play the game, then we can’t play the game. It sucks but that’s life, I would’ve liked to get a chance to go out there and bring the Bruce back [to SI].” There may still be hope for the historic game, as senior USF commit Owen Stephenson told the Emerald, “We’re getting in work individually and practicing any way we can during this quarantine. This is my last season, and this would be the biggest game of my high school life. We’ll play with no fans in attendance. We’ll play in the summer. We’ll play them in hazmat suits, I don’t care. I just want to go out and win that ball game.”

Seeing as each team clearly possesses similar skills and drive despite the current circumstances, if postponed, the game could truly go either way. However, despite this possibility, if canceled entirely (as it appears likely), the Saint Ignatius team and community would retain possession of the physical trophy. Though this may come as a blow to our community’s morale, we strongly believe we will maintain our pride and optimistic outlook as we focus our attention on next year’s games. As COVID-19 continues to threaten the health and lifestyles of our local and national communities, we must continue to strive to limit the inevitable repercussions of COVID-19 by adhering to the shelter-in-place protocol, even if it means temporarily sacrificing certain traditions.