by Cerwin D. Haynes
(photos courtesy of code5photos)
The shutdown of all sports has robbed all teams and student-athletes of on-field opportunities. For many, it's the opportunity to play a game they love with teammates they've come to bond with - even going as far as thinking of them as family. Some teams lost the opportunity to improve upon their season, while other lost the ability to continue a successful run.
East Los Angeles College softball was enjoying a stretch of strong play that saw them in second place in a very competitive South Coast Conference. At 12-6 (7-3 SCC), the Huskies had won five in a row entering the heart of their schedule. So how are the players handling the current lack of competition? We ask first baseman Pua Johnson for her take - she's the third student-athlete featured in our Ask A Husky series.
CDH: Hi Pua! Thanks for taking time to talk to us. How are you doing?
PJ: I'm doing good thank you!
CDH: Right before sports was postponed, Softball was nearing the halfway mark of the season. The team was 12-6 at the time, good for 2nd place in a very competitive South Coast Conference. You guys had won five in a row, and were about to enter a key stretch of taking on more conference opponents. Talk about your feelings of the team's progress at the time, and how that may have changed once the sports shutdown started.
PJ: Yes your right our season was just beginning to reach its peak, and as a whole our attitude was phenomenal! I felt like we've come a long way individually and as a team - having a major setback of losing our starting centerfielder Jasmine Flores put things in a different perspective for us! With our five wins in a row, I felt very confident approaching the weeks laid ahead for us. Facing our other opponents, I envisioned us having a major breakthrough; however when the shutdown process began, I knew it affected my teammates a ton,including myself. I know the team's feelings and attitudes have changed, but in reflection it has also made us hungrier for next season!
CDH: What do you enjoy most about playing softball? What do you miss most about not being able to be out there on the diamond?
PJ: The thing I miss about softball is having those intense, focused, and silenced moments of competition - whether it be during a scrimmage or during a game. On the other hand, I miss being on the diamond with my DAWGS. At the end of the day, they are my family and being out there with them makes the game 10x better.
CDH: As a student-athlete, you are used to a lot of in-person activity and interaction, even within a classroom setting. That has all changed since the move to strictly online classwork. How do you feel you're handling this difference?
PJ: When it comes to academics, I am always focused. As a hands-on type of student, switching to online courses has been a lot more challenging. Not being able to sit in a classroom setting physically tends to add to my distractions while doing online classwork (hahaha), but I still have to handle my academics always!
CDH: We've seen pics and vids via social media of some student-athletes maintaining workout regimens during social distancing. How have you and your teammates managed yourselves physically, particularly with no games to play right now?
PJ: Hahahah yes, everyone is doing online workouts and what not. Our coach still sends workouts for us to do individually at our homes, including a "team workout" about once a week or so! Not being able to practice everyday like normal and be physically active has been challenging, but I still maintain a set of workouts throughout the week!
CDH: How are you staying positive and resilient during this uncertain time?
PJ: Overall my positivity and attitude during this whole circumstance comes from my faith within god. My whole life, god has been a part of it and I feel like these times are like trials from god, testing our faith and willpower. I'm also just keeping a positive mindset as I tend to do through anything!
- ELAC Athletics has just learned that Ms. Johnson has officially signed a scholarship offer from the University of Texas Permian Basin! Details to come!