Junior Kate Covington (McLean, Va.) has been a three-year starter for Virginia softball in center field. Covington is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee executive committee at UVA and is on the five-year Batten master’s track. She ranks as the Cavaliers’ most experienced player with 122 starts in her career.
Q: How/where are you spending your time away from Grounds?
Covington: I’ve been spending my time away from grounds with my family in McLean, Virginia.
Q: The heart of the season was just approaching when athletics were shutdown. Now that some time has passed, how are you looking at all of this?
Covington: The abrupt ending just as we were getting into ACC play was definitely quite a shock. It took me a while to process and accept the reality of the situation. We had just moved into Palmer Park a couple weeks beforehand and were just starting to feel comfortable in our new home. Over the past several weeks though, I’ve been able to see the potential for our team coming out of this time. Athletes across the country have had a bit of a reality check as to all the little things we take granted. It really is such a gift that my teammates and I get to play the game of softball every day. I’ve never been more grateful for the game and for this team than I have been this past month. A team that plays with gratitude and perspective can do some powerful things. We’re going to come back in the fall ready to work hard and dive right in.
Q: What’s a day in your life look like right now?
Covington: Most days I’ll wake up around 7 a.m. to work out over zoom with some teammates before class. That’s been really helping me stay on a schedule. I have class from about 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then our team usually has a zoom meeting around 3 p.m. After class and meetings, I try to get outside as much as possible for the rest of the afternoon. Luckily the weather has been pretty nice the past couple of weeks! My family usually eats dinner and watches the news around 7 p.m. After that I’ll study for a bit or FaceTime friends, then go to bed!
Q: What’s been your toughest challenge during this past month?
Covington: My toughest challenge has definitely been not getting to see people in person. It has also been challenging to just do everything in the same place every day. I’m definitely not an extrovert, but I get a lot of energy from being around people. I also thrive on moving around and changing scenery throughout the day. With class, training, studying and meals all happening in the same couple of rooms just a few steps apart, it’s been hard to stay focused on the task at hand.
Q: How are you staying in touch with teammates?
Covington: Our team has been doing a lot of things to stay connected! We have Zoom hangouts or study halls several nights a week. We’ve also been working out in small groups over zoom together. We even started a book club! (The first book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) I’ve also been FaceTiming and texting people just to check in.
Q: What has the adjustment been like to taking online classes?
Covington: Luckily my classes transitioned fairly well to the online format. It has been very weird staring at a screen for most of the day, I’m definitely not used to that. My teachers have all been really great during this time. They understand how strange this time is and have been very flexible and helpful in helping us adjust as smooth as possible.
Q: How are you keeping yourself motivated and on track?
Covington: Staying in touch with my teammates and seeing them work hard during this time has been helping me stay motivated and on track with school and training. I think also being open with friends about how this time has been affecting me personally and hearing what they are struggling with as well has been really helpful. We really are all going through this together and taking time to expand my perspective has been helping me stay grounded and grateful. I am very fortunate to have a safe place to live, a stocked fridge and internet access to take my classes and connect with people. My faith has also been a major source of comfort and peace during this time. I’ve been trying to remind myself that God has control even when I don’t.
Q: How are you working on softball right now and what are some of the unique challenges being away from the team right now?
Covington: It’s definitely taken some creativity to train during this time. I have a tee and a net set up in my garage for hitting. My mom has been a great sport in helping with outfield drills using tennis balls in my yard. Our coaches were really helpful in working with every individual to make a training plan based on whatever equipment they had access to. We’ve also made small accountability groups so we can send videos of ourselves practicing and get feedback from our teammates. Josh, our lift coach, made us a home-friendly workout plan using everything from textbooks or filled duffel bags for weights, to chairs or couches as benches.
Q: Have you picked up anything new (hobby, etc.) during your spare time?
Covington: I love cooking and have been trying out some more adventurous things in the kitchen that I wouldn’t normally have time for at school. My most recent project was homemade pasta! I’ve also been playing my guitar more and reading Harry Potter for our team book club.
Q: What do you miss most about UVA right now?
Covington: I definitely miss the people the most. I miss walking around grounds with teammates, eating dinner at JPJ together after practice, and playing music in the locker room on gameday.
Q: What’s the first thing you will do when you return to Grounds?
Covington: The first thing I’ll do is definitely see everyone! I’ll probably just want to walk around the Corner and Grounds and just enjoy being back with them. I think a stop at Shenandoah Joe’s will also be high on the list.
Q: What shows are you watching?
Covington: I actually haven’t been watching that much Netflix. I’ve been watching the Voice and a little bit of The Office. I made it through two episodes of Tiger King but couldn’t finish it.