top of page

Breaking News

Covid-19 Hits Europe

So here we are, going into our second round of a two week quarantine in the South of France. Four weeks ago, we were all sat down in front of the President and Coach of our club to talk about the reality of our precious world. Three weeks prior, we were exposed to the news of a scary pandemic outbreak happening in China. We were told that it had spread quickly to Italy, and that the Italian League, Seria A1 had already started to take precaution. I notified my friends playing in Italy and they all responded with an "All clear" sharing that they were safe and practicing in masks to avoid possible contamination.

I was just recovering from a sinus infection that had started with massive chest pains and an ugly cough, all thanks to a serge of motivation one day to go on a run in the 9 degree weather😳 Why Linds, why? Luckily, it was only a sinus infection and I was given antibiotics and had a couple days to rest the body. With the change in weather, it's definitely that time of the year where sickness comes out to play. Unfortunately, this particular virus seemed to be different from any other. It showed to be ten times uglier than the common flu, and was spreading more rapidly than ever. As every day came and went, the news on this virus grew to be more and more of a threat.

Simultaneously, we were preparing for "Coupe de France." Final Four weekend for the French Cup.

The four teams competing were RC Cannes, Volero Le Cannet, Mulhouse and our team, PAVVB. This was an exciting moment for all of us! Being one of the Final Four is a big deal! The Cup is a separate competition paralleling the regular season. Since our draw was against Mulhouse, we were preparing for a road trip up North.

We had just played Mulhouse for regular season the weekend before where we respectfully lost in four sets.

They were currently holding the number one spot in the league with a heavily talented roster. But that's the tricky part about being at the top of the competition; It's a constant pressure to maintain that spot, and everyone is coming for you. We were ready to give the arena a show. But that wave of motivation for a competitive weekend had suddenly come to a screeching halt.


Video made by my teammate, Ciara Michel highlighting our thoughts and feelings on the upcoming Final Four Weekend. Before we knew what was about to unfold...↗️


Unfortunately, our excitement was switched to a rapid state of panic. Over the course of a day, we found out that there was a massive outbreak of the Corona Virus in none other than Mulhouse. We were four days out from making the trip up North, and our thoughts on the weekend had quickly changed. Our president sat us down before practice to talk about the game plan for the upcoming trip. We were given two options: The first was to continue on with the original itinerary of taking the 5 hour train; only this time in full masks and gloves. (Assuming that we'd be able to get our hands on them from our doctor since all had been cleaned off the shelves in any pharmacy) The second option was to take a bus and keep the team in a confined space so that we weren't risking the exposure to others. The catch: It would be a 15 hour bus ride. To be honest, both were not ideal, but I had a personal preference of taking the bus. I was used to the long bus rides from playing in Germany, and when it came down to it. I'd much rather endure a lengthy bus ride, of safety, than a tube filled with apocalyptic germs forcing me to set a new All time record in holding my breath. We all expressed our difference in opinions, but to me, the travel wasn't even the main problem that needed to be addressed.


Ultimately, we just didn't want to play in Mulhouse at all.

Not Today Covid, NOT TODAY

Yes getting there is one thing, but what about the game itself!? Think about the amount of exposure we would go through even just playing one set! Not to mention a full 3 out of 5 match. At this point, we had no idea if and how many of the Mulhouse girls were exposed to the virus. If we were to go up there and play, it'd mean that we were willingly putting ourselves and the people we love at high risk of becoming infected.

We've heard too many people say, "Volleyball's not a contact sport." "You all will be fine, there's nothing to worry about.''

(see photo for real- life response to the above statement) ➡️

EXCUSEEEE ME. Do you know how many times each player touches the ball just within one rally!? It is literally the equivalent to playing a game of hot potato in a confined space for two hours straight with added subconscious high fives, butt taps, back taps, accidental towel swaps and 2,000 shouting fans every other second, all towards YOU. Ekkkk . Just all of it. Ekkkk.

The second we would have started warmups, no, the second we would have walked into the gym for morning practice, our entire team becomes at risk. No thank you. Naturally, we all had some things to say:

"So we're basically Choosing to walk into a cloud of Corona Virus...that's not ideal."

- "What if we just don't play?"

- "Yeah, they can't make us play right?"

- "Well you want that paycheck right?"

We all sat in silence, "Touché"

The meeting had finished and I remember feeling that we had not really come to a consensus about the weekend. Even if we voiced our concerns about playing, at the end of the day, we really didn't have much power. A forfeit of the match meant more than just a safety precaution. It meant unhappy sponsors, possible financial difficulties, not to mention a massive fine from the French League itself!

We had no choice, we had to play.

So, after the most depleting meeting, Ever, we started preparing for our afternoon practice. There was a different feeling in the air. All of a sudden, it had just become bigger than volleyball. Sh*t just got real.

It's a weird position that we are all in; we're so used to living in our day to day routines. And on this day in particular, we had walked into the gym with our minds ready for practice, just as we had done earlier that morning, and the day before that, and the weeks before that, and the months before that.

As a society, we tend to lean on the certainty of our days. I've only studied in school about the dark times in history that were absent of that certainty. We think that those days will remain simply, "days in history." Moments in time, incapable of revisiting the world that this generation knows and loves.

But it was well on its way...and a whole lot faster than any one of us could have imagined.

Step 1

The following days seemed to have come straight out of a movie.

Within hours, The Corona Virus hit France hard. The number of cases skyrocketed and rumors began to circulate that the Cup Weekend would be postponed for a later date. The day after that, the NBA had officially announced that they were suspending the season "for an indefinite period of time." They even went as far as delaying the tip- off of a live game between the Jazz and Thunder, which quickly led to an official cancellation minutes later. The day after that, the Bundesliga in Germany announced that they had formally cancelled the league. All remaining games were to come to an immediate termination; standings would stay as is and there would be No league champion for the season.

Thank you for your time, goodbye....

I couldn't believe what I was reading. It had officially become global.

As we were actively watching one league fall after another, we saw that the LNV (Official French League) released a statement explaining that The French Cup weekend would be postponed until further notice. We all figured that the cancellation of the entire league would not be far behind.

So, on March 13th, we made the drive up to what we didn't realize would be our very last time to the gym. Ciara and I met up with Rae and Sara outside the gym soaking in some sun. We all showed the same distraught feeling on our faces as we heard a bang on the window of the offices upstairs. It was our middle, Mafi urging us to come up to the VIP room rather quickly.

"Op, here it is."

As we walked through the doors, a row of red chairs invited us in. Oddly they were the nicest and cushiest chairs that we'd ever been provided...I honestly didn't even know that the club had these chairs. Signs of something very serious. I remember thinking, "We might be here for a while." Our President and Coach sat down in front of the table opposite from us. Both with solemn looks on their faces.

It was time for us to stop training.

It was no longer safe for us to train together, especially in a gym that also shared time with multiple youth teams, a ping pong club, and endless P.E. classes for the kiddies in elementary school. Our instructions from the club became rather simple: no training for two weeks, we'll go from there and see how the world is. We were all pretty naive at that point. There was no way they're going to cancel the league altogether! Right? We talked about bringing some balls home with us to keep up with the touches and not lose too much of the game. But as the days went on, we started to realize, this could be it. There are three girls on our team who were planning to retire after this season.

Our captain, Tamara who had been with this team for 7 years left the meeting saying, "I didn't know that That was going to be my last match ever in my life!!"


No one had prepared for this; for it to end like this...

A Rapid Change:

In that first two-week round of Quarantine, I was in a head space of disbelief. Maybe it's the fact that we live in this bubble of competitive sports that the reality of the situation felt so far away. We were just freshly informed that practices had come to a sudden halt: an act that at the time, seemed to be the most extreme since it was made out of PREcaution. The club believed that they were ahead of the curve in taking action and wanted to move as fast as possible in order to save the season. At that time, the conversation was to take this break from practice, so that we could come back later and finish the season safely. We hoped that the two- week suspension would be the most of it. There was still this idea that after some time, we would slowly make our way back into finishing up the season. Little did we know, it was the beginning of the end.


That night I did some research.


Going through the statistics and tracking the progression of infected countries, I suddenly felt tears roll down my cheeks. There was a tightness in my chest creating a shortness in breath and a heave of heat throughout my body...All symptoms of utter terror. I realized that the suspension of our practices was no longer an act of avoidance, but a necessary response.

Within a couple days, we went from everyday living, to hearing stories about places far from home, to preparing for possible scenarios In our home, to living in quarantine. It's easy for the mind to wander when there's so much that we don't understand happening around us. Unfortunately I found that once the reality finally hit me, my mind took a turn for the worst.

Fun Fact, growing up I didn't watch many scary movies. I didn't have the strength to endure the nightmares that awaited after the viewing. But I do remember one movie that approached me in a bit of a disguise. It was supposed to be a thriller. The movie, Outbreak. (We were a big Bruce Willis household) I sat through the film in hopes of enjoying a dramatic plot and entertaining storyline. As my expectations were met, I did not realize the PTSD that would soon come after. Though I do give it a solid 5 star rating, I had No Idea just how tightly the fear of this scenario would stick with me for the years to come.

The only other movie that stuck so well with me would have to be Dumbo. And based off of the number of times that that Disney VHS was rewound then played, rewound then played, Big ears Cute ears, rewound then played, He Can Fly He Can Fly, rewound then played, "Lindsay don't you wanna watch something el-Nope" rewound then played, that's saying something.

I remember feeling a sense of hopelessness after watching Outbreak. As if "time" was the ultimate bad guy, and death was the new norm. Feeling that same kind of heaviness in the present day, I realized that allowing these scary times to consume my spirit was not making it any easier. Just as my mom advised me to focus on happy thoughts in hopes of recovering from the movie, I must advise the same for our scenario in today's world. It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of this pandemic as it is something that I have never seen or dealt with before. Perhaps that will never go away as it is something much bigger than us. But my hope is to find a way to compartmentalize the thoughts and feelings that go through me. As it is smart to stay informed, I am trying to keep my own fear under control. And instead of allowing myself to dread the information, I want to take it in, understand it, and then be able to move on into a space of positivity and calmness.

There are things that we can do to beat the bad guy; to prevail through the tough times, and create our own oasis. While I hope that we are able to support our hospitals, nurses and first responders, we also have the responsibility to keep our distance from each other. That's the physical part, the easy part. For me, the mental component is what's most at risk of being overlooked. It is up to us to form our own happyplace of safety and serenity. I hope that we find peace within ourselves during this tough time, because the more positive vibrations that we can cultivate together, the brighter our days becomes.


We're all on the edges of our seats just hoping for a moment of familiarity to feed into our hopes. The important thing is to take a breath, and remember that we're not alone. Though we must practice social distancing, we must emotionally be here for each other. Within that support, we offer strength and hope for all.

bottom of page