Meet Phoebe Large.
This senior health sciences major, who plays defense for JMU field hockey, would’ve been practicing on the field for the team’s spring training season if it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic. The team would’ve stayed on campus into the summer for as long as possible and are still hoping to come back at the beginning of August — two weeks pre-season.
“So, that’s when we have two-a-day practices, we’re staying in the dorms for a little over a week, just kind of getting back in the groove of things with the team and spend a lot of time together,” Large said. “It’s a really fun time. I hope this year, it’ll still be able to happen.”
Since the field hockey season is during the fall semester, this past spring would’ve been when the players participated in scrimmages against other Virginia teams and others from surrounding states with tournaments on the weekends. But instead of lifting, conditioning and practicing with her teammates by her side, Large is sitting at home, focusing on trying to find a routine.
Large said she was in denial when she first saw that JMU was closing for an extra two weeks, thinking the staff would be able to figure everything out and implement precautions. But, once JMU closed for the rest of the semester, Large said she was in shock, but felt lucky it didn’t affect her sport’s season.
“If I would’ve been in season, it would’ve been a completely different journey for me,” Large said. “I would’ve probably been very distraught. For all my friends, lacrosse friends who were in the middle of their season, my heart breaks for them.”
At home, Large said she’s trying to wake up at a reasonable time, stay active and be connected with both her family and her team. She also has an in-person nursing class starting soon to earn hours for grad school.
“[My routine] has changed a crazy amount,” Large said. “It was definitely a learning curve. I think I’ve got a better handle on it now.”
Large stays in contact with her team with meetings led by her coaches over Zoom, where they advise the players to use this time to the best of their advantage. She said her coaches are supportive resources, and instead of giving up on the situation, they’re looking at it optimistically.
Large said she and her teammates are fortunate to have the coaching staff there during these confusing times because they’ve helped keep players in a routine with meetings and have encouraged a positive mindset.
“They’re saying, ‘This is great. We can see each other more, we can talk, we can be fit, we can be ready and back better than ever,’” Large said. “If you’re struggling, they wanna be there for you to lean on.”
Reflecting on the past three years on the team, Large said she’s learned that she’s never done growing and that her team focuses on a growth mindset instead of a fixed one.
“We always talk about it on our team … Just to never be satisfied with where you are,” Large said. “It’s always: keep going forward.”
During this time, Large said there’s something weighing on everyone, whether they’re an athlete, a student or a faculty member. She said no matter what JMU plans to do, understanding everyone's situation is important.
“Of course I want a season, and of course I want to go back to JMU — I don’t want to miss out on the fall of my last year — but sometimes, hard decisions have to be made and they’re not fun,” Large said. “But, all we can do is hope and stay safe and social distance and do the best that we can to support whatever’s going on right now.”
Contact Kailey Cheng at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.