My Student-Athlete Covid Sob Story
After spending the better part of two years desperately avoiding Covid, it finally infiltrated my suite. There’s never a good time to get the good ol’ Rona, but I can think of a thousand-and-one reasons why this was the worst week for it to all go down.
My first roommate started having symptoms Monday. Shortly thereafter, a rapid test was taken. BAM. Two red lines. One roommate was down. Three to go. Naturally, we all started freaking out — we never could have imagined this extremely likely scenario would happen to us. Who would be the last one standing?
Our suite was bursting with stress. More stress than the rest of the Harvard student body combined, and yeah, that’s saying something. And I, as a student-athlete, had exactly one week left in the season — so close, yet so far.
After testing negative — but staying positive — for three days in a row, things were starting to look up. We had probably been a little exposed but, hey, I didn’t even share a bedroom with our positive suitemate. The little tickle in my throat and my roommate’s sniffle were just stress, right? Or maybe spring allergies? Worst case scenario, the start of some mild frat flu I picked up from the Berg. That was nothing my immune system couldn’t conquer … right? The tests were still negative and we’d been leaving the windows open for air flow, so everything was … ok.
I was supposed to leave for New Hampshire with the team on Thursday. After hearing I was in close contact with my suitemate, my coach wasn’t jazzed about me getting in the van to drive three hours with the team. Luckily, my super-dad was flying across the country this weekend to come watch my last races, so the problem was solved: I’d drive to New Hampshire with my dad and isolate myself in my own room in the team house. All was well.
My dad and I got to New Hampshire, and the minute I stepped out of the car, I got a call from my fun and friendly roommate. And BAM. Another roommate down. Two more to go. This was becoming mildly catastrophic. I was really exposed at this point, and the tickle in my throat started to seem a bit more alarming. So observing more caution, I got a hotel room where my dad was staying, so I wouldn’t expose my teammates.
Fast forward and it’s Friday (race day) morning. I wake up, and I feel like I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs at a Harry Styles concert. 15 minutes later and the rapid test confirms I am, in fact, Covid-19’s latest victim.
Well, obviously that squashed my race starts for the weekend, and I had also just exposed my chauffeur. Sorry, Dad! Ever the moral supporter — even though his dear daughter would be chilling in her hotel room all weekend — my dad masked up and went out to cheer for the other Crimson skiers.
I eventually made my way back to Cambridge after the weekend, accessorized in my N95 mask. Thanks to my dad, I was able to accumulate an enviable grocery haul to stock up for the rest of my isolation in Pennypacker — no, not just Trader Joe’s, but also Whole Foods. I joined my roommates, all of whom had Covid now, back in our suite. We then spent the weekend going on long walks, looking through social media at all the events we were missing, and “celebrating” my birthday in quarantine.
Did Covid ruin my season? No. Did it ruin this week? Pretty much. Have millions of people experienced this same exact inconvenience and much worse? Absolutely.
But hey, my symptoms were mild thanks to my three doses of the vaccine (shoutout Pfizer), and I’m coming out of quarantine a year older and with my sense of taste and smell. My roommates and I don’t hate each other (too much) despite spending DAYS with no other human contact, and I finally got caught up on the latest TikTok trends. Better yet, now I can start training for next season. And the best part of all: no more Color tests for the rest of the year. See you and your testing reminder texts later!