Covid-19 has affected every person on this planet in some shape or form. Additionally, it has affected organizations and teams in many ways. I had the chance to interview a division one athlete, Gianna Edwards. The D1 athlete attending East Carolina University in North Carolina is a college freshman and plays softball. She grew up in Islip and went to Islip High School. I asked her a few questions about how Covid-19 affected her life and her sport.
First, I asked Gianna what she believed to be the number one way Covid-19 affected her? She told me that Covid-19 affected her mental health as it ruined the end of her senior year and took away her last softball season. Covid-19 adjusted her perspective positively and caused her to look at life differently. She began to realize that life is precious and things can be taken away from you very quickly, so enjoy every moment. She learned to take everything in because everything can be taken away from you in a moment. This pandemic made her value life more.
The second question talked about her schedule and how Covid-19 may change it. Her team practices six days a week and for four hours each day. In their first few weeks of practice, they could only practice in individuals with about four people plus coaches at a time. Due to the ECU softball team getting very hardly hit by the Coronavirus, a lot of girls on the team, including Gianna, had to be quarantined after an encounter with a Covid-positive person. Edwards did not ever have the virus, but a lot of girls on the team tested positive for Corona. As people began to come back from quarantine and got rid of the virus, they began to have team practices as a whole group. It took the ECU softball team a decent amount of time to get the entire team playing and practicing together. I also asked her how her home-schedule was set up differently due to the pandemic. Edwards thought it was strange to be home for almost the entire day every day and not be able to see her friends. It also was sad for her to not have a real graduation although she is insanely thankful to have any type of graduation at all. Covid-19 did not just affect her athletic schedule but also affected her academic schedule. She only attended three in-person classes before class was entirely online.
I then talked to her about how she was liking division one athletics in general, and Gianna said she likes the way D1 is set up using discipline, order, and having pressure on her. Throughout her entire life, she always thought that if she could play at the highest level possible, then why not?
Gi has always loved pushing herself to do the best that she could in every way, and playing division one was her biggest dream. She is very excited to be playing D1 because she feels as though she is living out her childhood dream.
Gianna Edwards lived in New York while Corona was at its first peak, and there was very little equipment to work out with. I asked Gianna how she managed to stay in shape while not being able to go to gyms. She said the first few weeks were very tough for her and that she had no motivation to do anything because it began to mentally hit her that she will never be playing on Islip’s home field again. After about two weeks of not doing any exercising, Gi began to “get her life together,” as she said. Gianna realized that there was no changing what was going on with Covid-19-19, so she began to get active again to work towards the future. She went on runs throughout her neighborhood to detox and did lots of yoga and meditation to help her mindset. She began to set better standards for herself for the future because there was no way she could change the present.
I asked her if Covid-19 did actually have any hidden benefits, and Gi says anyone that says the virus did not positively affect them in some way is lying to themselves. She believes everything in life is a learning experience and Covid-19 taught her to value life more. She began to value life more after she was unable to see her grandparents or cousins for about four months. She also learned to value a good education because it is difficult to learn through screens.
As Gi goes into her freshman year of college, I wanted to know how it has been affected by the virus. She said it is easier to transition from online high school to online college. She expected it to be different, so she knew what was coming for this school year. She believes that the worst part of this year is not having a personal connection with her professors. It is also difficult for her to make friends other than the softball girls because she is not in person for her classes.
To end the interview, I asked what impact did Covid-19 had overall, and she said this virus taught her to live a little more carefree and to not freak out about what she can not control. Gi believes that if you cannot change something in five minutes, you should not freak out over it. Her mom has told her since she was little that “when a wave comes, learn to surf,” so she always tries to learn how to adapt to new situations. She also believes in taking everything with a grain of salt.
As Covid-19 continues to affect everyone’s daily lives we are all learning to adapt to new problems. As a D1 softball player Gianna Edwards has changed her mindset by bettering and making sure she tries to stay positive at all times. Gianna thinks positivity is the most important part of staying mentally, physically, and emotionally okay. She believes that you need to try and stay happy because you only have control over certain things.