Out of the game for 10 days

A look into athletes’ lives while battling the COVID-19 virus


Stephanie Liang

In the past few months, numerous BVH athletes had to take 10 days off from any sports and school related activities for testing positive for COVID-19. Nonetheless, athletes continue to play for club teams in the offseason even with the virus and busy schedules.

Eat, sleep, train, do homework and repeat. That is the life of a student-athlete—everlasting and barely prone to change. Therefore, when athletes are forced to take 10 days off, doing nothing is one of the hardest circumstances to be situated in, especially when they are out due to sickness.

In the past few months, numerous Bonita Vista High (BVH) athletes had to take 10 days off from sports and school due to testing positive for COVID-19. However, it was not a typical break as they had to quarantine at home the entire time. 

Although I was in good health, which I’m very grateful for, it was definitely hard to stay home, and not be able to go to school and practice. [Water polo is] definitely a big part of my life that I enjoy,” varsity girls’ water polo Captain and senior Nayelli Rodriguez said. 

Athletes from all current winter sports being played presently, regardless of the grade, position or levels experienced, have had a player test positive for COVID-19. The absence of a player from the sport proved to be a challenge for the teams they played for, but especially for the individual player. 

Sports take up most of my day. [I either] go to practice [or] play games. Not being able to do that is tough. I had nothing to do. Besides school, [roller hockey is] the only thing I do,” roller hockey player and freshman Damian Nunes said.

If athletes are not playing with their team, they typically try to work out and improve their individual skills and strengths. Yet, when one is battling COVID-19, they are inactive because they are physically and mentally unable to move, or they do not have enough space to work out. 

I lost a lot of motivation. When I was at home, I didn’t want to practice [and] I didn’t want to run,” varsity girls’ soccer co-Captain and senior Ashley Escamilla said. “I have such a set schedule that I’m just used to going, going [and] going, [so] stopping [playing soccer] just felt weird.” 

For most of the athletes, their busy schedules continue throughout the year because they play for club teams in the offseason. While devoting most of their time to sports, student-athletes tend to have little time to develop their interest in other hobbies. In other words, athletes may describe their quarantine as ‘boring’. 

“Obviously playing is fun, but I miss playing with my teammates and sharing the wins with them. I miss the camaraderie of it. It was really fun to just play games together and win as a team,” Nunes said. 

Sports take up most of my day. [I either] go to practice [or] play games. Not being able to do that is tough.”

— Damian Nunes

Playing a sport is more than just playing on a team, it is accomplishing a goal with one’s family. Student-athletes are just like family members, they feel their absences when they are away and cannot be of assistance. Ultimately, trust accompanied the athletes through their time alone. 

“This [year’s girls’ water polo] team is very good. It’s gonna be hard when you take out any player, even a starting player from a team. I know it’s very difficult for them, but they honestly adjusted very well,” Rodriguez said. “They had just seven games in the time I was out and won five of them. I’m super proud of them for that.” 

Rodriquez thinks that she grew as an athlete too, even without physically playing, but by encouraging and helping her teammates virtually. On the other hand, Nunes mentioned the experience and reflection taught him what he needs to work on moving forward. 

“I’m going to try to improve my game [in order] to mesh well with the team. I’m decent at skating, but my actual hockey skills are not that great. I’m going to try and improve my individual skills so we can improve the whole team,” Nunes said. 

As students count down the days until it is finally the weekend, student-athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 also count the days until they can return to playing with their teammates. The worry of being out of shape takes over, as the traditional stress of school work dissipates. 

“I can’t practice or go to games online [like I do for school]. Once you’re out, you’re out. You can’t do anything about it,” Rodriguez said. 

For student-athletes, sports become more than just something that takes up their time, it is their stress reliever and their escape from reality. Playing sports helps them both physically and mentally. When the ability to play sports is taken away due to COVID-19 quarantine, it hurts both the athlete’s physical and mental well-being. However, the time away from playing makes the excitement and love for physically doing the sport stronger as they await their return. 

“I think I’ll enjoy [playing roller hockey] more, because not being able to play for 10 days sucks. I think I’ll just be more grateful that I can play,” Nunes said.