In March of 2020, my junior season got cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I vividly remember sitting on the steps outside the weight room with my team – some in tears, some in shock – and hearing that the rest of our season has been canceled.
Classes were moved to remote learning and sports were cancelled, so I moved back home to San Diego. Though the beaches in California were closed, it couldn’t stop me from practicing the sport I love. So, during the pandemic, I would spend much of my time with my back on the living room floor, setting the ball to myself. I recruited my brother to assist me in my own mini practices by asking him to bump the ball back and forth in our backyard. We’d go at it for hours on end; we ended up popping four of our volleyballs in just a couple weeks because they’d land in the pointy succulents in our yard.
Those first few months of quarantine were really tough, as it was for everyone else, and I can’t really say it got any easier. For all undergraduate athletes, life in college certainly looked different than before. I moved back to Los Angeles in September 2020 for my senior year and the covid protocol UCLA Athletics had us under was very strict (for good reason). UCLA athletes were tested every day to hinder any outbreaks and put in a 7 day ‘sequester’ when coming back from break. On the fourth day of my team’s sequester, one of my roommates tested positive and was sent to the ‘COVID dorms’, leaving me to quarantine alone in my room for 10 more days. And luckily, I had a volleyball with me.
During these times of isolation, the initial lockdown and the quarantine at school, volleyball was the only thing that kept me sane. I came up with drills I could do on my own and in my room to continue practicing. I set against the ceiling, I bumped against the wall, and tried every and any kind of variation of these skills that I could think of. I would even hit against my floor and wall (my downstairs neighbors probably didn’t love that).
Playing volleyball my whole life, it wasn’t difficult for me to find ways to keep honing my skills in volleyball. But for kids, for those who are just starting to learn a sport, for those who need guidance, it’s not so easy or available. That’s where Hiveclass comes in. Now, you can easily practice virtually anywhere, exactly how I did on the floor of my home.
All of those drills I did in quarantine became the basis of the videos I helped make for Hiveclass. If I was stuck in a room playing volleyball by myself, I’m sure someone else was too. And even after this pandemic fully resolves, even without the need for quarantine and isolation, there are still so many kids out there wanting to learn a sport but don’t have access to a full team or equipment. Hiveclass videos offer sports instruction in an extremely accessible way, something more relevant than ever because of the pandemic. It’s been two years since I had volleyball taken away from me, in a way like I’d never experienced. But it was during those two years in which I was able to share and spread my love for volleyball in a new way. That is something I’ll forever be grateful for.