One week from Tuesday, the UTC softball team was supposed to host the USA Olympic squad. For Mocs senior first baseman Emma Sturdivant, that was an extra perk of coming back for her fifth season.
She was ready to enjoy one last extra ride as a collegiate athlete.
But of course the season barely got underway before it was wiped out by the coronavirus.
Emma Sturdivant and the Mocs were in a tournament in Florida, when the sports shut down started to trickle down with the coronavirus.
Said Sturdivant:”Well what was super weird for us actually is the Ivy League had canceled their spring sports I think a day or two before anyone even started canceling for softball. We had just played Yale like days before that. So we were just like man that’s so weird. How awful for those seniors you know. That was their last time playing. We played them in their last weekend for their entire year. We were like yeah, it’s not going to happen to us. We were trying really hard to stay optimistic.”
The optimism soon faded, as UTC was told to come home early from Florida and eventually their season was canceled too.
Said Sturdivant:”It has been super hard for all of us just because we were such a close knit team even without softball. We all care about each other a lot. It’s just weird. I’ve never had a spring without softball in 17 years, so it’s weird. It’s a very weird feeling right now.”
It’s weird all right, but at least the NCAA will allow all athletes in spring sports another year of eligibility.
Said Sturdivant:”It’s going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds and see how the standings are going to be with all the people returning that maybe people weren’t planning on returning. Yeah it’s going to be a competitive year next year I think in the NCAA.”
Losing your senior year stinks, but Sturdivant feels like a winner.
She won a SoCon title last year, and she will have earned two degrees at UTC.
Not to mention all the team camaraderie.
Said Sturdivant:”We were on our bus ride home from Florida together, and everyone was still doing like car karaoke with each other. We were up and down singing and laughing through the long way of the bus. It was still upbeat. It’s nice that if that was my last memory with the team, it was so upbeat, and we were still having so much fun and surrounded by so much love for each other.”