PAXTON — Fresh off of a Daily News Small Schools Girls Basketball Player of the Year award, Sadie Varnum is holding out hope her final season of high school sports isn’t over yet.
Like many across the country, the Paxton senior is holed up at home with her family, waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic and holding onto every morsel of information the FHSAA releases. As of March 31, that includes the hope that spring sports — including Varnum’s softball team — might resume after Governor Ron DeSantis’ statewide mandate to close Florida public schools ends after May 3.
Varnum said she knows the odds are long, but it gives her something to look forward too.
Until then, she said she’s doing her best to enjoy the newfound family time the pandemic has afforded her.
So how has the social distancing affected you personally?
At first I was pretty down about it, and I didn’t really understand how bad it was and how bad it was gonna get. Now I’m just trying to think positive, and honestly, it’s really brought me and my family closer together. It’s been way too long since we pulled out the cards and had a game night or went on a walk. We’re just so busy and now we don’t have anything to do, so it’s given us this time to be together. I’m also really upset; our (softball) season hasn’t been completely canceled yet. I heard that they had talk of maybe continuing the sports in May if we were going to get to go back to school, but I have a good feeling it probably wont. I don’t think it’s really gonna hit me that my last softball season is over until it actually happens. I’m just trying not to think about it. I hope we can get back, but I don’t know if it’s gonna be possible.
What do you think of playing softball in May and into June?
It would go into summer, but I would be all in to do that because you never get your last high school softball season back, especially for us that aren’t gonna go to college for it. We’re never gonna get to play again, so I would definitely be down for letting it run into summer. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You’re never gonna be able to go back and do it again.
Assuming the season does come back, what are you/your team going to accomplish this spring?
I think we have a lot in our future. We lost (pitcher) Camryn (Brazile) last year, but we still have Hailee Bryan and she’s a really good pitcher. In practice we’ve been hitting pretty good. I think we have a good season ahead of us if we get to play.
What does a world without sports look like to you?
It’s a little boring without sports. It’s been so much of my life for as long as I can remember, and now that we don’t have it, it’s weird not having it.
You mentioned spending time with your family. What are you doing to stay busy?
Cleanin’. And we have a farm, so we’ve been working on the farm, working with the cows. We’re about to plant a garden; we haven’t done that in forever. Movie nights. Just anything we can find around the house.
Have you watched or binged anything good?
We watched a new Christian move called “I Still Believe.” It’s named after a song that a music artist wrote. It was really good.
And how has the transition to online schooling gone?
For my sisters it was a little tricky at first because they have seven classes. For me, I’m dual enrolled (with NWF State), so I only had like two classes at school and it hasn’t been too much on me. But I know for them it’s been a big adjustment because here at the house they don’t have a teacher telling them ‘Do this and do that.’ They have to do it on their own, so we’ve ben having to stay on them about that.
What kind of advice have you received for dealing with the pandemic?
Our parents, they just sat us down and they told us how serious this is. A lot of people aren’t treating it like it’s an issue. They’re still going out in public and they’re still coming in contact with people. They just told us that this is very serious, and it may not affect us, but it will affect either our grandparents or any elderly people that we come in contact with, so we’re staying home.