Due to the unfortunate events that have been unfolding in this country since March, many athletes across the country are having to sadly say goodbye to their seasons and return home with their families.
Petra Duran, a junior at Georgia State from Barcelona, is in quarantine with her sister back in her home country.
This was definitely not something that Duran thought she would have been doing for her third season at Georgia State.
Last year, Petra played in all ten tournaments, scoring an average of 78.6 points. This year, she only got to play in one. Her reaction when she found out her season was over was heartbreaking.
“I just wanted to cry,” Duran said. “I’ve only played in one tournament this semester, and I was really excited because we were heading off to Arizona one week from the day we were told everything was canceled.”
Duran was also upset that her family would not get to see her play in 2020.
“We had Arizona and our home tournament, which my mom was coming to watch me play all the way from Spain, and then we had [the Sun Belt Conference Championships],” she said. “I was feeling better with my game. I just wanted to go out there and play and I feel like I didn’t get a chance this year.”
Georgia State later announced that its campus was going to be closing down for two weeks, before moving all classes online for the remainder of the semester. All students had to vacate their dorms. So, Duran decided to stay with one of her teammates, Courtney Lewis, and her family for four days.
It was up in the air whether or not she wanted to stay in the U.S. or return home. But after hearing rumors that conditions were going to get worse in the U.S., on top of the fact that her parents got a message from the Spanish government requesting all Spanish students in the U.S. to return home, she flew back to her home in Spain.
Making this decision was one of the most difficult things that Duran experienced during this event.
“[It was] hard because in the states, I could still play golf. But here, it was knowing that as soon as I landed, I could not see my family and that I had to do a complete lockdown. You cannot even go on community areas,” she said.
As soon as Duran made her choice, she packed up all of her belongings and headed off on her flight back to Spain the very next day.
She experienced surprising events on the flight.
“It was a bit weird,” Duran said. “I knew the consequences of flying without protection was going to be getting sick or getting someone in my family sick. I was wearing gloves, a hoodie, and a mask.”
While she came prepared to fight COVID-19 scares, others on the flight proved otherwise.
“Maybe 80% of the [people on the] flight was wearing nothing,” Duran said. “No one was wearing anything, and I didn’t get that. I was just so cautious of not touching anything or putting my hands on my face. I just didn’t understand why people didn’t know or didn’t understand what was going on, although everything was canceled and people were staying home because of this virus, like there must be something going on. They didn’t take any precaution.”
As anyone would feel when returning home after being away from their family for so long, Duran was happy when she landed back home in Spain. But she was also saddened by the fact that she could not see her family for a while.
“I was happy, and I am happy I’m home,” Duran said. “But I haven’t seen my family yet.”
When Duran landed in Spain, her dad was there to guide her with instructions on where she would be staying.
However, the very same day she landed, Spain’s government announced a rule that there could not be more than one passenger in a vehicle.
“I had to just say, ‘Hey’ and ‘Bye’ in a matter of two minutes,” Duran said. “We couldn’t even touch each other. There was a lot of police officers everywhere because you’re not allowed to have more than one person in a car. So, he just dropped off the car. I took the car, and then I drove to our house on the beach.”
For safety reasons, Duran had to quarantine away from her family for at least two weeks. Thankfully, she was never in this situation alone.
“I am in quarantine here with my sister, who landed from Michigan a day after,” Duran said. “She took a cab [from the airport] and came here.”
Duran says that she is still in contact with her parents and the rest of her family, but she has not seen them yet.
As unfortunate as this may be, Duran still tries to keep a positive thought in her mind.
“I feel like it was the best decision,” Duran said. “Because first of all, you had to be careful and wait two weeks just to make sure that we didn’t catch anything. Also, with online classes, and [being that] we’re a family of six, it would have been crazy [with] all of us in that apartment.”
While quarantining on their family’s beach house, Duran and her sister have found ways to keep themselves occupied while being on lockdown.
“I just started online classes yesterday,” Duran said. “Last week, I was just waking up at 9 a.m. [every morning] to make sure that I at least kept a decent schedule. Then we would cook, clean, do some studying and do some workouts. I also did an hour of yoga with my sister. Then at night, we would just play games or watch a movie.”
While staying in shape for athletes is not a priority during this time, Duran’s sister has been helping her maintain her health.
“It’s been hard,” Duran said. “[But] my sister is a field hockey player, so she helps me with her [workout] routine.”
Being over 4,500 miles away from a place she once called home, her teammates, friends and coaches are among those who keep her fighting.
They have played a huge factor in her golf career and being away from them is something that is not easy for Duran.
“We do [still] keep in touch,” Duran said. “We’ve done a good job to make sure that everyone is safe and that they have everything. I never felt alone at all.”
She wishes that everything that the world is going through will soon pass by so that she can get back to being with her teammates.
When asked how eager she was to get back and be with her teammates again, Duran made no hesitation.
“Wow,” Duran said. “From 1 to 10, a thousand. Can’t wait. Can’t wait.”