In a press conference in August, the Governor of Illinois announced sports seasons would be postponed—maybe even canceled—because of COVID-19.
My heart sank.
Just like that my volleyball season was torn away from me. The shelter in place order made me realize how much sports were a part of my life.
Not being able to practice with my team and see them everyday not only felt strange, but was isolating.
Not only did I miss the competition, but I missed my volleyball community. Thankfully I still had my sister Hope to practice with.
Hope is a freshman and was looking forward to playing volleyball, too. But after we heard it was canceled, we both started to wonder if we could play tennis—a sport we never would have gone out for if volleyball was still in season. And a sport we have grown up playing, but only during the summer and only for fun.
We weren’t the only ones either. Melania Fierz, a sophomore, and her sister Natalia, a freshman, are both volleyball players. But they decided to go out for tennis, too.
“I had been working hard all year to start my volleyball season and when I heard it was canceled I was really upset,” stated Melania Fierz. “This opportunity I’ve been able to have is crazy. If volleyball hadn't been canceled, I wouldn't have been able play tennis.”
Melania gladly stated, “I've been playing with my dad and sisters since I was five, but I've never been able to play for school. I have been really happy to be able to play both. It's fun to be able to get good at something that I don't usually get to play. I wish I could play it all year round, too.”
I have to admit, at first I was nervous about playing tennis at Timothy, because most of the girls have been playing together for years. But when I joined, I instantly felt welcomed. The whole team was very supportive and very fun to be a part of — especially my tennis coach, Mr. Tyler VanderBrug. He helped me develop a strategy for playing competitively. This season has never had a dull moment.
Melania played doubles with her younger sister Natalia. They took advantage of their communication with each other throughout life to use on the courts. Although not all players have siblings on their teams, other students have been welcomed and mentored by other players.
Just like volleyball, soccer was also postponed until February. Cameron Baker, a sophomore at Timothy, landed a spot on the varsity soccer team as a freshman last year. Cameron, a natural athlete, decided to run cross country.
Cross country, as it turns out, was another supportive athletic community. Senior Noah Smith taught Cameron the ropes. He has been thankful for how welcoming and encouraging everyone on the team is. “I’ve used this opportunity to help prepare for my upcoming soccer and basketball season,” Cameron says.
Cameron, Meliana, Natalia, and I love playing a sport just for fun and having the opportunity to be part of a community we wouldn't have been otherwise. I’ve made new friends and it’s been a positive outcome of a worldwide pandemic.