PART 1: From a homeschool student athlete’s perspective
Coronavirus Cleared My Calendar
There are nearly eight million high school athletes in America. I am one of 488,592 female varsity trackletes who were affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, and this is the story of how I strove to find light in the darkness of these unfamiliar times. It is a story shared in many ways by all spring athletes across the world, not to mention its challenging effect on all of our learning environments.
Our track season had just begun in February of 2020, and it looked so promising. I am a hurdler, and that requires skill and coordination. At only our third practice, I was finally getting the hang of a more complex step pattern, which I had been working on since the beginning of last season. However, this season – my first varsity season – was in serious jeopardy. It was looking like that letter patch wasn’t going to be in my immediate future.
My brothers’ basketball season with the Wildcats was cut short, my friend’s baseball season was canceled, and even though my teammates and I hoped and prayed that the Coronavirus would not become a big deal, it still eliminated our entire 2020 track season. We remained hopeful, meeting at parks to run together and continuing to train with hopes that maybe we could still have meets in May, but clearly it was all in vain.
We were devastated. Especially the seniors.
My Classes Were Deconstructed
Being an athlete during the pandemic was challenging, but so was being a student. From various posts and memes online, I know a lot of people thought that homeschooling would stay the same – I can testify that it did NOT. I took some classes at a local academic homeschool group, and things changed a ton. Classes were deconstructed, and thrown onto unfamiliar platforms like Zoom, just like they were for public schoolers. Group projects were canceled. Field trips that we had been looking forward to were wiped from the schedule. Prom, which was mine and my friend’s first chance to go, and which we had been looking forward to for so long, was canceled in just a single email. Just like that, I had NOTHING to do. Or, at least, so I thought.
But…Not All Was Lost
While in the beginning I felt very cut off and lonely, just like I’m sure many of you felt as well, I tried to make the most of it.
I could relax and take my time, without having to rush, and I could get all my school and chores done before practice or whatever activity we would usually have had that evening. My grades improved because they were my main priority. I completed drivers ed over quarantine, so I was able to get my permit once the BMV opened back up.
If something interested me, I had even MORE time to dive into it, because I had nothing else on my mind.
I Got to Know Me
More than anything else though, I was able to search myself and my heart to gain a deeper understanding of who I am becoming and who God made me to be.
I had spent so much time and energy on everything else before being quarantined, that I never really slowed down and got to know myself. Finally, I was able to take this time and pick out my strengths and weaknesses, using that knowledge to improve my character. I was also able to build on old hobbies and develop new ones. I hadn’t played piano in years, but because of the free time I had, I was able to pick it back up. With this strengthened skill, I will be able to help lead worship for our church in a new way when it opens back up!
God Is ALWAYS Working
This example just shows how amazing God truly is. I understand that this isn’t the most exciting COVID-19 story, but excitement isn’t everything. We know that God works in every circumstance. It doesn’t matter how big or small your story or experience is, God is GOING to use it.
So as the world continues to open up in 2021, ask yourself this question: How could God use my story? Don’t panic if you can’t think of an answer right now. He will use it eventually, so keep your eyes open. Being vulnerable to you about my experience in this blog is part of how God is using my story, and I’m excited to see what he does with it!
If you’re still struggling with the repercussions of 2020, or if you just need a hand in processing all that has happened, there will be a Part 2 of this post next Monday which will tell how I got through my version of the pandemic struggles.
Until then, I recommend surrounding yourself with God by filtering your social media and music choices, and spending time in prayer, in the Bible and with others who are walking with God too (see my blog post here called Staying Connected through Distance).
Remember that you are not alone! He is with you (Joshua 1:9). Sometimes all it takes is saying to yourself and believing in your heart, “I know this isn’t permanent, and no matter what happens God will bring good from it.”
If you don’t have a Bible at home, here are some free, online resources:
Also, here are some helpful song choices to get you through difficult times:
All This Time, by Brit Nicole
Even Then, by Micah Tyler
Reason, by Unspoken