Like all 2020 high school graduates, Nate Ware has felt the sting of what he has lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the special moments their class didn't get to have.
He didn't get to enjoy the last couple, three months of a normal senior year, including events like prom.
The standout student won't get to experience a commencement.
He lost his job when the restaurant where he worked closed, so his finances won't be where he wanted them to be when he goes to college.
The star linebacker will also miss out on playing in the North-South All-Star game that was cancelled.
But rather than look back with regret, the Michigan City senior has his eyes focused on what's ahead.
"At the beginning, it was more about how it affected my senior year," Ware said. "Now I'm trying to think of it as a chapter ending, but not my story."
Ware will play for NCAA Division III Trine in Angola, and has been working with the unusual set of circumstances of the quarantine to try to prepare himself for the next step.
"Speed and strength are my main focus," Ware said. "I definitely need to improve on that. I was working out at Elston, but it closed, so now I'm at home. It takes its toll emotionally, not seeing my friends, my coaches. It definitely adds to the drive aspect. I have to kick myself in the butt to get going. I want to be ready for college."
Without having much available in the way of weights, Ware makes due however he can, whether it's tossing heavy rocks and logs or doing resistance exercises as part of Trine's workout regimen.
"It's a lot of speed, agility," he said.
Ware has also hooked up with a group of Michiana high school and college players who have been getting together a few times a week in South Bend. Former City teammates Brian Walker, Demetrius Garrett (Eastern Illinois) and Kejuan Rufus have also taken part in the non-contact sessions that are run like 7 on 7s. Upwards of 50 players have attended, Wade estimated.
"I love it, the guys coming together," he said. "It started out on social media and then grew into its own thing. It's high quality. The college players are leading the group. It's making me better."
If all goes as scheduled with the re-opening of schools, Ware will report to Trine after July 4. He was originally slated to spend that week in Indianapolis for the North-South game but the July 10 contest at Ben Davis High School was cancelled back in April.
"It was very disappointing," Ware said. "With it being in July, I thought they had time to see how it was affected, that it was too far away to know if they could possibly play the game. It definitely hurts because it was going to be my last high school game. I was super excited. It was an honor to be picked."
Ware totaled 102 tackles on the 2019 season with three tackles for loss, four sacks, four fumble recoveries and an interception.
"Probably never had a player want to be great as much as Nate," defensive coordinator Roy Richards said after Ware's all-star selection. "He so absolutely deserves to be recognized."
With no work and the completion of school online, Ware, as many others have, has spent most of the last three months at home. His mom and aunt both in the health care profession, so the family is taking all the safety precautions related to the coronavirus.
"We're watching things pretty closely," Ware said.
While the high school won't be able to hold its regular graduation exercises, Ware and his classmates will get to don their caps and gowns Sunday as the school does a drive-through ceremony on the campus. Graduates will be able to to pick up their diplomas, walk across the stage and take pictures with their family.
"It's definitely better than nothing," Ware said. "I was looking forward to prom and graduation, but I'll take what I can get. After that, I'll just take it easy until college."
Michigan City's Nate Ware has been working out with a group of local college players in South Bend as he prepares to go to Trine University. The Wolves linebacker was chosen to the North All-Star team, but the July 10 game was cancelled due to the coronavirus.