As surely as a heartbeat, the steady 1-2-3 rhythm of hop, step, jump ticks like a metronome in my body. Triple jump has been my life. Attending practices four times a week, I made my best friends at track; I experienced my greatest joys and fiercest disappointments at track. There was nothing parallel to the emotional roller-coaster of competing in triple jump: the adrenaline rush as I crouch and prepare for runoff; the anticipation commingling with fear before the referee announces my distance. Finally, the euphoric joy that courses through me when results are announced, and other times an electric shock of disappointment. Whether the emotions that track and field ignited within me were good or bad, they were the strongest emotions I’ve felt. I dreamt of being a recruited athlete in college.
But a week before the first track meet of the season, quarantine began. Of course, the cancellation of an extracurricular activity seems minuscule in comparison to the exceedingly real and devastating problems that others are going through right now, for which my heart goes out to them. However, that didn’t hold back the feeling that my world was crashing down on me when track practices were cancelled.
Like a well-oiled machine programmed to complete a single task—one that had suddenly evaporated into thin air—I was left without direction, awkward and aimless. What if I forgot how to execute the graceful curvature of the hop after months without practice? What if this quarantine continues into my senior year, and I would never have the achievements necessary to become a recruited athlete?
For weeks in quarantine, these were the questions circling my head. Worry and disappointment draped over my eyes, a veil of darkness preventing me from doing anything other than mope around and ponder these same questions. But as weeks dragged on, sheer boredom forced me to snap out of this melancholic stupor. If I couldn’t practice track and field, I might as well find other interests.
Reluctantly at first, I began to explore other subjects that I felt drawn towards. Take writing as an example. Creative writing has always piqued my interest, but with the mounting pressure to be a recruited athlete, there was simply no time to sit down and write. But because of the one-eighty degree change provided by quarantine life, I’ve started typing out poetry and short stories on my laptop, even submitting this personal piece to a literary magazine. Now, I feel as if I’ve glimpsed a whole other facet of the world: One that becomes vividly colorful under the power of words, brimming with metaphors, imagery, and emotional resonance.
Stepping away from my doomsday lens on CoVid-19, I’ve realized that quarantine has brought me an invaluable opportunity to explore other interests and hobbies. By derailing my single-track mind set on track-and-field stardom, quarantine has allowed me to examine my life from a fresh perspective. Who knows, I might lose the muscle memory to become a great athlete next year, but at the same time, I’ve found a new passion and approach to life. By no means do these benefits stack against the deadly effects of CoVid-19, but it has taught me that slivers of light shine even in the pitch-black night.