Virus obstacle for Seymour volleyball


More than 26 million people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, and Seymour High School volleyball players are among them.

Despite the numbers, despite the contagious nature of the disease, you still never think it will happen to you, that you won’t end up in sick bay, placed into two weeks of social distance quarantine.

But it did happen to the Owls just after they began practicing for their fall 2020 season. They could not complete their required prep time in a timely way and saw the first four matches disappear off their schedule.

"We’re definitely three weeks behind everyone else," coach Angie Lucas said.

Virus disruption is the world’s problem, everyone’s problem, as this bleak year plods on with restrictions on daily life and in ways we never envisioned.

Lucas certainly never figured on her team being sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic. These are high school kids, and mostly, she has been focused on coaxing the potential out of them, not over past years acting as a guardian of their health.

"I wish I could put my girls in a bubble," she said.

Perhaps she was thinking the NBA and NHL strategy to isolate players and slowly complete their seasons.

An understandable sentiment, especially since as she spoke, the Owl junior varsity team was in quarantine for a second time. The first time around, the varsity, JV and freshman teams were in lockdown.

Lucas was a little incredulous about how the germs caught up to the volleyball team again and insinuated their way past the protective barriers common to those trying to deflect the virus.

"We have followed all the guidelines," Lucas said. "We have even been washing our forearms. You just can’t stop it."

Lucas is hardly the first to be astonished by the persistence and virulence of the coronavirus.

Even in this immediate area, high school sports teams following the rules have been bushwhacked. An airborne illness that no one can see makes for a tricky enemy.

Brownstown Central’s football team went into quarantine because of a positive test earlier in the summer, and then the Braves lost out on their scheduled season-opening game because opponent Corydon Central had a last-minute positive test.

Medora shut down the whole high school because of a positive COVID test, and that put the Hornets’ volleyball team into a forced two-week vacation.

Other teams have had individuals unable to play.

"This is life, being able to bounce back and handle adversity," Lucas said.

Going into Thursday night’s match against Jennings County, Seymour was 0-5. The Owls have been in close matches, but had not yet won this season. Lucas said the forced quarantine when practice time was lost has hurt. The team is still trying to catch up to where it should be.

"That’s a little deceiving," Lucas said of the record. "Our competition is very strong. I want us to play the best. We just haven’t had the contact we need."

The Owls are missing the frequency of touches, of practice time together they would have had by now. Other teams have played more matches than Seymour, as the program scrambles to try and make up some of the four scheduled events were erased due to quarantine.

"I feel sorry for the teams we had to cancel on," Lucas said.

Sophomore Olivia Fish missed a good chunk of last season because of a knee injury and then ran into the virus issue and missed time.

"When we were in quarantine and others were playing, it was tough to watch," Fish said. "I think it’s still like the beginning for us. We’ll know how to win. We don’t have that kind of mentality yet. Once we get that, we’ll get in that groove."

At last Saturday’s three-loss competition in the Bloomington South Invitational, Fish thought the players ran out of steam because of the lost practice and game time.

"By the end of Saturday’s games, most of the girls just weren’t there," she said of fatigue. "I woke up this morning (Sunday) and my body was hurting."

Just from playing. That is better than not playing at all and better than aching from a virus.

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