Column: Ole Miss basketball player says work on new goals during COVID-19 pandemic


Donnetta Johnson
Oxford Stories

How do you go from being an active student-athlete all year to sitting in the house all day? For many athletes across the world, the pandemic is a difficult time, but athletes and others can use this time to work on new goals and better themselves.

Athletes have gone from a rigorous schedule to working on their own, which can be a challenging adjustment. When you are accustomed to a certain lifestyle, it is difficult to break those habits. Ask any athlete about their schedule prior to the pandemic, and it was much different.

Waking up at 5:30 a.m. was the time to prepare for team workouts that begin at 6 a.m. I wake up at least 40 minutes prior to the time we have to be there. It helps me get in the correct mind space to cope. I am not a morning person, but once I am up and ready to go, I am good. 

Now, I wake up at 8 a.m. That is what I would do on a normal school day.

If you were one of the athletes who doesn’t give yourself a mental break because you are always moving, this is a great time to relax your mind. Many struggle during this time because their sport is their escape from their thoughts.

Donnetta Johnson

Any sport played by an individual is done with purpose, especially if you play at a professional level. There is a reason how and why they reached that level of expertise. 

The sounds of the loud crowds, the work that you put in during the off-season, the time you spend with teammates, and the things you accomplish are all part of the joy of being an athlete. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but the best way to cope with nonexistent competition right now is to find ways to keep busy, as if you are busy on a normal day. 

For me, I have tapped into my creativity. For example, I am creating a blog that will help inspire other people, which is something I have looked forward to creating for a long time. When you finally get a chance to do something you have wanted to do for a long time, it is blissful.

I can understand people who are struggling right now, because not everyone is creative. This is a good time to step outside of your comfort zone while you have time. Do something you have never done before, even if that requires staying in the house. 

Johnson at home working on her blog.

Many teammates and friends have ways to uplift themselves. One learned to braid the newest styles. This could become a potential business. Another friend learned how to groom dogs. The last simply started reading more. 

These are things that can help occupy your time, become a potential business when this is over, and/or help you become more knowledgeable. You can emerge from the pandemic a different person with abundance. 

While creating memories and spending time with family and friends, whomever you are quarantined with, learn to do something extraordinary.

Although this is a tragic and scary time, we can learn more and improve ourselves. Take time to reflect on the time that you have been given. Be safe and stay at home, please.

Donnetta Johnson, 20, is a sophomore journalism major with an emphasis in broadcasting and a minor in cinema who aspires to create her own film production company. Johnson traveled a long way from home, as she is originally from New York City. Basketball brought her to Oxford. She is a member of the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Team.

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