(Editor’s note: Jayden Mount is a “super senior” infielder at Louisiana-Monroe. She was a Player Blogger for JWOS during the shortened 2020 season and wrote this article, at our request, to offer her thoughts on all that the last year has held. The article has been lightly edited, but is entirely in Jayden’s own words.)
On October 2, 2018, I tweeted “One day you won’t lace up your cleats, do your pregame ritual, give your teammate a high five after they score, and you won’t go to practice. One day it will all be over, and you won’t get to do it again. Be grateful for the opportunity and live in the moment.” Little did I know that would stand true.
On March 12, 2020 at about 3:30 PM, we heard that our season would be suspended indefinitely due to the Coronavirus. There were many tears shed, many people in shock, and many that didn’t how to react. As a senior, I had no words. I was in complete shock with tears rolling down my face. I completely thought that I had just played my last game the night before. I thought I was done playing the game I have loved for the past eighteen years.
When we broke out for the last time, I could barely even speak. I thought that would be my last time to do that as a player. It was sad, but I knew that this issue was bigger than myself and the sport of softball. On March 13th, our coach told us to pack up and go home because COVID-19 was the real deal and we needed to go home and start quarantine. At first, I was very skeptical about not being able to go anywhere or do anything, but looking back on it, I am very glad it happened. I believe that it was much-needed for everyone in this country to just relax and rest. Family is super important to me and getting to spend so much time with them was well worth it. We got so close and built a special bond that no one can break. I am super blessed to have had those six months learning more about them and getting closer to God with them.
While in quarantine, I learned quite a few things and picked up some new hobbies. Don’t take anything for granted because it can be gone in an instant. Always take family time seriously and enjoy their company when you have it. BE WHERE YOUR FEET ARE. Live in the moment and appreciate everything you have. When you are grateful for everything you have, you have all you need.
On March 30th, I got the call that the NCAA was giving spring-sport athletes another year of eligibility. My emotions were very high, but I just burst into tears. I couldn’t believe that spring-sport athletes got to finish the game on their own terms.
When I got the message that I got my year back, I knew I had to start preparing. The gyms weren’t open, so I found a love for high intensity interval training (HIIT) and long-distance running. I got into really good shape and set goals for myself to beat my times each time I would run. Our team did different competitions every week to make sure everyone was staying in shape. It was something fun and challenging for us to do when we couldn’t be with each other. We were so ready to be back and get after it on the field.
I have had COVID-19 twice, less than three months apart. I tested positive on September 3 and November 18, 2020. I was very shocked that I got it once, much less twice. The first time I got it, I was super upset, but embraced all the challenges that came with it. My teammates made it okay because they would always ask if I ever needed anything or needed food. My roommate already had the antibodies, so she took care of me and was always up to go hit ground balls or pitch to me. My teammates really helped me get through that 10-day quarantine. COVID-19 is not something to mess around with because it is a very serious virus. Our team has really done our part in staying in our bubble and we’re just excited to be back on the field.
As I go into this season, I am embracing every little thing. My glove this year has “Embrace it” on it because I am so grateful that I am able to play one more season with this amazing group of girls and coaches, for one of the best universities, and in front of the best fan bases. Our team has some of the best chemistry it has ever had since I’ve been here. We are excited for one another, on and off the field. The depth that we have going into this weekend is phenomenal because everyone has been practicing multiple positions just in case someone has to quarantine. My team is so fun to be around and we just can’t wait to step on the field and enjoy being in the moment and being where our feet are. We love this game, and we are so blessed that we get to take the field.
Here’s to 2021!!!