LAUREN WISDOM, TRUMPET SPORTS EDITOR
March 13, 2020 was the day our softball season was officially canceled due to the coronavirus.
I remember walking back from my 9 a.m. class that morning, and I ran into my roommates, who are all on the softball team, outside of The W. We all embraced each other with tears streaming down our faces as reality set in that our young season was stripped away.
Luckily, we were able to go down to Florida for our annual Winter Break trip where we played 12 games, winning nine games and losing three. It was hard to face the fact that our 12th game was the last one we would play with some of our teammates.
On that dreadful day in mid-March, I remember we were supposed to have a team practice and lift weights in the athlete weight room that afternoon. Unfortunately, we were instructed to not go forth with any organized activities. We decided to still work out together without the supervision from our coaches. Then, we were told that was not allowed either.
We gave it one last shot to use the weight room on the lower level of The W. Half of the team used the weight room while the other half used the outdoor track. Our season was just cut short hours earlier, but we still found a way to get better as a team.
Afterward, we met as a team with our coaches to cry all our tears, to vent and to talk about how to move forward past a difficult day.
About a year later, the day we anxiously waited for finally arrived; Wartburg softball went to Maryville, Tennessee, to play our first games of the 2021 season against another team. After Tennessee, we rode a bus to Alabama to play Huntingdon College and Mount St. Joseph University. It was not Florida — like we would have all loved to enjoy together — but we were just thankful to go somewhere warm to play the game we all love.
Our trip this year looked different than in the past. We were seated next to either our roommates or our “pod mates” on the bus ride while also social distancing, meaning there was a row of seats that separated us from the next group. Our face masks had to be worn at all times on the bus. It is a tradition to have a snack aisle on the bus on our road trips, where each team member brings a snack to share. This year, snacks were pre-packaged. When we stopped at restaurants for food, we ate our meals outside.
At the hotels, we shared a room with our roommates at school or our pod mates. We were not supposed to mingle in other rooms. Although it was not required to wear face masks on the softball field, masks had to be worn in the dugout and throughout certain parts of our warm-ups. When our games were complete, we did not line up to high-five the other team. In certain places, our fans were not allowed. In Tennessee, home and visiting team spectators were allowed, but in Alabama, only home team fans were able to enjoy the games live and in person.
It was different playing softball and not having our Wartburg fans cheer us on in the bleachers. But we knew in the back of our minds that our Wartburg community was rooting for us via livestream.
Other than the differences we had to get used to, we focused on softball. Out of the six games we played, we won five of them, run-ruling our opponents in each of them. We only played one seven-inning game, which happened to be the game we lost. Even though this year’s trip was not like trips from the past, we found opportunities to make memories. This time, we held these memories a little closer to our hearts as we learned to not take those moments for granted.
In our dugout during each game, two posters hang on the fence. One poster is our covenant that we follow as a program along with our core values that represent who we are as a team. The other poster had the numbers “03.13.20” and the word “Choose.” “03.13.20” represents the day that our season got canceled in 2020, and our mantra for this season is “Choose.”
We could have given up one year ago. We could have sulked in our sadness. Yet, we chose to have a positive attitude and to have an optimistic mindset for what is to come.
“Choose” is our mantra for this season because we are choosing to show up every day and to give it our all, because we never know when something so important can be taken away.