For high school driller Durva Patil, quarantine has canceled practice indefinitely, forcing her and her teammates to practice their routines, almost entirely dependent on teamwork, in isolation. Social media isn’t cutting it: “I have to resort to online platforms to coordinate with my teammates but that is not sufficient to satisfy needs required by drill and other team sports,” Durva says. Since drill involves a team of competitive dancers who collaborate on a routine, practicing this routine individually without the coordination and support of teammates is very difficult.
Durva trains and competes for Interlake High School’s highly accomplished drill team, which has frequently advanced to the state level in previous years. However, this year’s state drill competition, hosted by WIAA, was totally canceled due to coronavirus concerns, much to the team’s chagrin. “Going to state every year had become an accomplishment as much as a ritual. The absolute cancellation of our season for this year is disappointing to say the least. I was looking forward to the opportunity to perform and be judged by the panel at state, but the wellness of our community comes before our wants.”
Social distancing orders come at the cost of improving as a team. “The progress my team had made this year in reference to their flexibility and stamina will unfortunately be lost to the lack of practice. Staying active at home and stretching is the only way to retain any progress made but that is very minimal.” Aside from occasional online communication, virtual events aren’t feasible as “the competitions are impossible to replicate online.” Not being able to practice together under their coaches has led to an “unfortunate drift between the family-like bond of our team. I wish we could practice together but at-home practices will have to suffice for now,” says Durva.
Durva’s formerly rigid training schedule is much more relaxed now. “Quarantine has provided me with a lot of free time. Sleep, workout time, and family time has increased exponentially. Waking up at 8:50 instead of 6:50 has finally brought some time to sleep in. I have picked up biking during my free time giving my boredom an exit. Hour-long workouts at home have become my new favorite workout method. Quality time spent with my parents and little brother on hikes and walks has been very enjoyable.” To offset boredom with productivity, Durva has some advice for her fellow athletes to stay motivated. “I definitely recommend making a schedule that keeps you on your feet. Spending time trapped in your house can lead you to lose track of time but by being aware of how quickly time flies by, I have been able to accomplish a lot more.” She has gotten to experiment with including healthy fruits and vegetables into comfort food in her quarantine kitchen. “Cooking has never really been a passion of mine but finding new ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables has been quite an experiment. Aloe milkshakes and spinach waffles have been my personal favorite successes!”
Although Durva was not injured prior to quarantine, she is inspired from her drill experience for stretches and strengthening exercises to prevent injuries and stay in shape.“I have a stretching routine adopted from Drill which I make sure to do before my workouts. It keeps me safe before doing any heavy exercise and helps me maintain my flexibility.” Working out with weights at home is her personal favorite strengthening exercise.
Durva definitely recommends athletes feeling stuck at home to go “outside for runs or hiking since staying at home all the time can feel a bit claustrophobic.” She also recommends taking this time away from friends to just spend time with family. While following social distancing rules, I would encourage spending time with family since being home can be a bit lonely.” Durva has been careful when exercising outside. When she runs or goes out biking, “I press the crosswalk button with my elbow to prevent any spread of germs from the button to my face or phone. Following social distancing rules of 6 feet on sidewalks is difficult but maintaining a fair distance has seemed to serve the purpose.” Durva has had a lot more time to explore her neighborhood: “Small local trails have been my favorite exploration spots because they are very family-friendly and accommodate an engaging and active afternoon.”
Her overall reflection on the impact of the pandemic: “I think this pandemic has caused us to construct a new normal with altered daily routines. I am sure that almost everyone is going to come out of quarantine with good and bad habits they’ve had time to cultivate. After the pandemic, any precautionary measure given by health officials will likely be taken a lot more seriously to prevent another pandemic. I’m sure most life will go back to normal in the next year or so,” Durva predicts when asked if she thought life would ever go back to normal after the pandemic.
Emily reached out to me for an interview and I’m glad you guys reached out to help me reflect on my newly developed habits and aspirations over this quarantine. I hope this interview will bring about positivity in the health community and will be a way for people to get exposure to new skills and habits.