Savanna Montoya, Brenna Adams and Nya Laing are adjusting to life without softball at Salt Lake Community College because of COVID-19, which has forced classes to be given online and cancelled all sports at the college.
Softball, to be clear – the team, togetherness, competition, life lessons, the crowds – was life, one now spent in isolation away from their friends and beloved coaches. A promising season had just started when it abruptly ended. Adjusting hasn’t been easy.
“I think the overall attitude of the team is generally sadness, because we haven’t been able to play the sport we love and be around each other,” says Adams, an infielder and sophomore from Rexburg, Idaho. “I think that one of the hardest things for me through all of this is just that the season is over, that I wasn’t able to play this season with all of these amazing girls who I have grown to love.”
Adams, along with Montoya and Laing, are leaders on the team. It’s up to them to rally themselves and be “up” for the rest of the team. They gladly take on that roll, along with coaches Cyndee Bennett and Tara Bendt, who says the team was a “very talented” group this year.
“We have encouraged them to stay active and reach out to us if they need us,” Bendt says. “We want them to stay up to date on their schoolwork and use this time wisely to make sure they pass their classes – not really much else they can do. We just really want them to know we are here to support them, help them with whatever they need and be there for any questions they may have regarding the future.”
The future, what they thought it would be, has changed for now, and it’s constantly on the players’ minds. Montoya is a sophomore and was on track to get her associate degree in general studies. “I was planning on transferring after this season, but due to COVID-19 I may not be,” she says. “This experience has changed so many things in our lives.” She says that attitudes of players on the team are “slightly broken but optimistic” about their situation and the future.
For now, they study hard with their online courses and keep in touch via electronic media while at home with their families, which to a player is the best thing they say has happened through all of this. “If there is a ‘best part’, it is spending more time with my family,” says Laing, a freshman pitcher on the squad. “It’s hard not to be playing softball every day, but I have gotten to make plenty of time for family from this.”
And they work out. Every day. Montoya, Adams and Laing lead the way – from their homes. Coaches send along workout challenges and offer prizes. They hike. There are indoor workouts that don’t require machines. Those who have treadmills use them instead of just hang clothes from them. And they play sports with their families, including, of course, playing catch.