Softball Captains: Dealing with Home Confinement

Despite the widespread disappointment from the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season, the Girls Varsity Softball Team did not let COVID-19 affect their strong work ethic and team spirit. Boasting a successful 17-4 record in their 2019 campaign led by former Captain Lindsay Kucker '19, the girls were prepared to carry their momentum into 2020. In the culminating weeks of the Winter Term, the softball team regularly held voluntary practices that Captains Ciara Hoover '20, Emily Matcham '20, and Maddie Zeleznik '20 led. The three were proud of the team's dedication to these practices, and specifically by the freshmen's efforts.

Despite being stuck at home, the captains' determination and leadership skills did not diminish. "I have a bow net and tees at home, and my dad also catches [for] me when I pitch," explained Hoover, who will be continuing her softball career at Middlebury College next spring.

Matcham noted that she has also been focusing on her strength and cardio at home, despite her lack of access to the Al-Rashid Strength and Conditioning Center, which the team has frequented throughout the year. "We have [also been] encouraging the team to do the Big 10 [lift], and stay fit however they can." The captains have had to get creative, using their own indoor and outdoor spaces to maintain fitness and skill.

In the preseason, the three captains felt excited to begin their new season, especially their annual spring training trip to Florida. However, due to the recent cancellations, Zeleznik felt compelled to recall her past experiences: "The trip is a highlight every year. We get to know the new people on the team and hang out in our free time. Recreating it is difficult but we are doing our best to do it over Zoom." All three emphasized the team's continual communications through social media, most notably in their submission to the Lawrenceville "paper ball contest," where over half the team participated in the video.

Additionally, Hoover recalled memories of the team's tradition of meeting in the Bathhouse for National Burrito Day on April 2. This year, to supplement, the team held a group FaceTime call, where they met and talked for nearly two hours, sharing stories about their experiences in quarantine and memories from past seasons.

To make up for the lost time together, Hoover expressed hope that the team will be able to congregate before the V Form heads to college: "We are trying to make plans to still have our big team dinner at the end of the season. When we get out of quarantine, it would be fun to all meet up in New Jersey one more time."

In all, while the captains have tried to recreate the 2020 Softball season, they have been accompanied by feelings of sadness. "[I] love my team and I miss everyone," expressed Hoover in her final remarks.

Zeleznik conveyed similar feelings, not only displaying longing but gratitude for her time with the program: "Obviously I'm sad I won't get to be a part of something I've loved for the past four years, but I can't wait to see how the future seasons go. I'll be cheering them on." The captains feel that the team has a bright future and has the potential to emerge strongly from the COVID-19 crisis.

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