One view: Facing Covid-19 challenges head on

Photo by Detroit Titans Sports Info


When I first heard that Covid-19 had reached the United States, I thought nothing of it.

I assumed it would be like Ebola, part two.

Everyone talked about it and even joked about it.

We didn’t know how many cases were recorded each day, let alone how many people we lost.

Back in March, rumors surfaced that the virus came from eating bat soup.

I scrolled through Twitter seeing meme after meme.

It wasn’t until my teammates and I received an email from President Antoine Garibaldi that we started taking this thing seriously.

Next thing I knew, I was packing my dorm room and heading home for an extended spring break.

One week went by and then another.

There was no talk about returning for postseason workouts.

That’s when I started to get anxious.

CNN stayed on my living room television 24/7.

Each day the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths rose.

Before I knew it, my sophomore year of college was ending with my last biology exam.

All I could do was continue to scroll on social media.
I kept seeing posts by my women’s basketball peers on Instagram and Twitter about how devastated they were having the remainder of their seasons stripped away.

I felt for the teams who lost the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament.

While the rest was much needed, I started to lose myself.

I had to ask, “Who am I without basketball?”

This year has helped me figure it out.

In the blink of an eye, the month of June was on the horizon.

Michigan was still under Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home order – and rightfully so.

After being personally affected by the virus (my stepfather was hospitalized with it), I could no longer be selfishly upset by our governor’s attempt to keep us safe.

Still, it was hard to find ways to work on my game, especially since I didn’t have a basketball hoop outside.

So, I decided to work on my conditioning and ball handling.

Each day I would go to my local track and work on my mile time.

Unfortunately for me, after two weeks of that grind, I was faced with another tibial stress fracture.

X-rays showed the “dreaded black line” fracture.

This wasn’t the first time I had had to deal with a stress fracture.

I had been playing with them my entire career without even knowing.

Now, my luck had run out.

My doctor said my best option was to get surgery. Otherwise, I risked breaking my leg completely.

After my operation, everything seemed to move quickly.

Friends who I played travel ball with headed back to school to start preseason workouts.

My Detroit Mercy teammates and I were eager to get back on campus, too.

We had Zoom calls every week discussing our goals for the upcoming season.

Aug. 20 was the day we awaited anxiously.

We knew things would be different but we didn’t know just how different.

Masks were to be worn at all times.

For the first phase of what the NCAA calls “resocialization,” we could only work out with our roommates and suitemates.

We couldn’t share the same basketballs or even the same basketball rims.

No partner shooting, no shooting drills.

Everything had to be wiped down after use.

We couldn’t even use our locker room.

Finally, after a few weeks we could begin having noncontact practices.

After that phase, full blown practice arrived.

Practicing with masks on was tough but necessary.

The training room was different, too.

We could no longer get our own ice or heat packs.

There had been talks about cancelling the 2020-21 basketball season.

Some conferences cut their seasons.

We nervously kept our eyes and ears open for news on the Horizon League.

Lo and behold, our athletic department and coaches worked tirelessly to put together a schedule for us to play safely.

We started getting tested three times a week.

We played our first game, and it was nothing I have ever experienced.

No fans were allowed in Calihan Hall.

We missed our cheerleaders and band.

Cutouts of our loved ones and loyal supporters replaced their bodies.

Our opponents wore masks, and our benches were placed across from their normal spots.

We spaced out our benches and everyone had an assigned seat.

We no longer had to check into the scorer’s table when subbing into the game.

At the end of the game there were no handshakes.

We waved across the court to our opponents as we wished them good luck and good health on their next journey.

We have been so fortunate to so far be Covid-free during this crazy experience.

We have no idea what to expect moving forward with our schedule.

All we can do is keep working hard and stay safe.

Whatever obstacle we encounter we will be ready to face it head on, together.

The author is a Varsity News staff member and member of the Titans women’s basketball team.