Madison “Pickle” Winkler is a speedy 2022 Extra Elite 100 candidate attending Christian County (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) where she’s been a varsity high school player since the 7th grade. Last year she was an Extra Inning Softball 2nd Team All-American on the field and recently qualified for State in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) in Accounting.
Pickle plays for the Louisville Lady Sluggers 18U team as a middle infielder/outfielder and has been a blogger for Extra Inning Softball in the past including a post earlier this year about needing wrist surgery and rehab a year ago and her first post when she detailed how she got her unique nickname!
In this blog, Pickle describes how the Coronavirus quarantine has impacted her softball season and what she’s doing to keep busy…
Two weeks ago, my high school team and I played our first of what was supposed to be two scrimmages. That Sunday, my family and I were enjoying watching the Louisville softball team and other college teams play.
A week later, their post-seasons were cancelled. A few days after that, their seasons were completely ripped away from them and now high schools across the nation have followed this trend, breaking the hearts of thousands of girls.
My season has been suspended until April 13th. But, all over the news we keep hearing about school closures in different states where they’re closing for the rest of the year.
No school means no softball.
My team had a bright future ahead of us. We had both of our pitchers returning with a new high school coach who has coached in travel ball since we were young. Our team chemistry is one of the best I’ve experienced in a high school environment.
We were all so excited for this season knowing it would be the last time we would get to play with two of our seniors, who we grew up playing travel ball and middle school with.
Our team has only lost half of our season because of this pandemic, but we are afraid of losing the rest of it. My travel ball teammates from Florida and Kansas have lost their entire season and the majority of them were seniors.
Those decisions made from those states are going to continue spreading throughout the nation and I could possibly end up losing my entire season too, but my hopes are high that we will get in the last half of ours.
However, since we can’t play, or even practice with each other, this time period of quarantine is going to hit high school teams hard. I know we are putting in the work on our own, but not practicing together is going to hurt.
All my life I’ve been taught academics over athletics. Its been preached to me repeatedly so over this period of quarantine I wake up at the same time I would on a regular school day and do my schoolwork.
I don’t want to mess up my routine or sleep schedule because at some point, we’ll go back to school. Online school is a new challenge for me, especially my AP classes. With the AP test in May and losing person-to-person instruction for a month, it’s scary so every day after I finish my schoolwork, I study for my AP tests using different resources and sites.
I was scheduled to take the April 13th ACT, but because of this pandemic, it got pushed back until June. This means that when I complete all of my school work for the next month, I’m going to go hard and heavy into studying for AP and the ACT.
I know that losing a month of instruction for some kids is a blessing, but for kids like me, it’s a scary thought. I’m working towards college credit hours and working to be Valedictorian. I need, and want, that time in school so I know I’m getting the tools I need to be successful in both of those categories.
In addition to the school work and studying I do every day, I still practice my sport. I hit into the Bownet in my room, at least three buckets. I split up between slapping and standing still.
I also am a part of the Volt program. They came out with a workout I can do at home, since the gyms are closed. I try and get out and run every day when it isn’t raining down a flood and I try to stay stretched a loose for when season comes back around.
Although high school ball is in season right now, the work I put in is for travel ball which I’m afraid is going to be cancelled also. High school ball is already shaky, and travel ball consists of flying and coming into contact with people around America.
People are saying the worst of the corona virus is yet to come, which means travel ball is in a scary situation. This summer is my last summer before September 1st of my junior year and I need this summer for recruiting. It’s nerve-racking to know I may not get this.
Although this quarantine is taking its turn on me, my heart hurts for the seniors. This season would have been their last opportunity to break records, leave a legacy, and to just play softball one more time.
Hope Jones, a high school teammate of mine and Murray State softball commit, says, “I fear that my last game in the Colonel uniform could be the first round of the region tournament last year.”
She’s been playing for Christian County High School since her 6th grade year and could have stepped on the field for the last time last year. Senior athletes are slowly losing their last opportunities to play in front of their friends, have a senior night, play for championship titles, and most of all, play the game they love for the last time.
As Hope says, “I am a Colonel for life, no matter how my time ends.”
The effects of Corona stretch farther than just school closings. It’s taking away opportunities for kids across the globe. Here in America, it’s put sports seasons on hold, cancelled proms and graduations, and locked teenagers in their house for weeks.
However, I believe that I—and everyone else effected by this—will walk out of it stronger. Plus, when I’m older, I can tell my kids I survived the pandemic that changed the world!