J.C. Booth 8th-grader writes about life during coronavirus

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Matt Mazzanti, 14, practices his soccer skills in an empty field.
Matt Mazzanti, 14, practices his soccer skills in an empty field.

A COVID-19 STORY

By MATT MAZZANTI

May 3, 2020

<b>Great soccer field, no soccer players. Graphic/Matt Mazzanti.</b>
Great soccer field, no soccer players. Graphic/Matt Mazzanti.

I connected my wireless headphones to my phone. Put on my cleats. Opened the front door. Walked out to my soccer net in my front yard. Ran up to my soccer ball, and kicked it. That same routine for about the past 7 weeks.

4 months earlier

It was December 2019. I was in my literacy class watching CNN10. I was barely paying attention when they said there was a virus in Wuhan, China. Nor did I think it would have any impact on my life or anyone I knew. As the weeks went on, I heard little about the virus. Then, on CNN10, I heard that Wuhan, China closed its borders. I knew the virus was getting worse but was it bad enough to affect the rest of the world?

February 2020

I was preparing for my upcoming soccer season. I played a preseason game and scored 2 goals on the game. Life was going great, except for the amount of rain we were getting. Many of my soccer practices were canceled. I began to see the impact of the Coronavirus. In my 8th Grade Gifted Social Studies class, we were playing the Stock Market Game, an online game where you buy and sell stocks. The stock market was taking a hit, and every team in our class lost a ton of money. Even then, I still didn’t know the impact COVID-19 would have on the world.

March 2020

By now most of the European countries were hit with the Coronavirus. At school, we still went on with the normal activities, set aside a few minutes in Literacy when we talked about the virus. The teachers were still planning for the Milestones. At lunch, my friends and I started talking about the virus. Most kids were joking about the virus, saying they wanted to get the virus, so we didn’t have to go to school. I admit I joked at times too. Then, on a Thursday, I got off at my bus stop.

A friend said to me, “See you at soccer practice.” We were both excited because it had finally stopped raining, and we could have a practice. When I got home, an email came through that soccer was suspended until April 30.

I couldn’t believe it. I was bummed. I had been practicing all offseason, and now, we probably wouldn’t even have a season. Later that day, while at the gym with my father, we got a call from Fayette County Schools saying that school was canceled for the next week. Then, a couple of days later, the gym closed.

I was super bummed about that because it was the last place I could go to. The only place I had left was the soccer field until it closed soon after the gym closed.

Then, my Grandma’s nursing home closed, and she became very confused about why we couldn’t go to see her. When we went to see her through her window, she was again confused and didn’t understand anything that was going on. My family went home crying. Finally, the training Department at Delta where my father, a pilot, worked closed.

April 2020 – Present

The world as we knew it changed. Parks closed. Restaurants closed. Stores closed. Life pretty much has “closed.” People who got the Coronavirus died in hospital beds without their family with them. Grandparents were stuck in nursing homes without their families to love them. Parents lost their jobs and many worried where their next meal was going to come from. Students are forced to interact with their classmates through a glass computer screen.

Usually, I would have been playing soccer every weekend, hanging out with friends, and going to school. What this virus has shown me is that I need to cherish what I have, because you can lose it in the blink of an eye. I never thought it could happen to me, but this virus shows that it can happen to every single person on Earth.

I got up from my lawn chair where I had been writing about the past few months. I went inside. I connected my wireless headphones to my phone. Put on my cleats. Opened the front door. Walked out to my soccer net in my front yard. Ran up to my soccer ball, and kicked it.

May 16, 2020

Postscript: Parks and other public places are starting to reopen. I am still awaiting news about the soccer season and school next year. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Mazzanti was “born and raised in PTC, 14 years old, forward for PTC Lazers.” 

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