Freshman athlete Nicole Smith’s season postponed

Jessica Wang, Forum Editor

In August, a few states north of California, Gunn alumna Nicole Smith was just kicking off a fledgling soccer preseason with the University of Washington when several members of her team fell sick from the infamous novel coronavirus. Two weeks after settling in a dormitory with her new teammates, Smith found herself packing home for the rest of the summer, where she remained until returning to Seattle last week.

It seemed that the pandemic had already slide-tackled Smith’s first year of college: her highly-anticipated soccer season in the PAC-12 league was stripped of all games by the time she returned for the start of the school year. “Usually we’d be on our first, second or third game by now,” she said. “Instead, our season doesn’t start until January.”

In response to the global health crisis, her university has changed tactics with a number of safety measures. As an athlete, Smith must complete daily symptom reports, submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and receive a flu shot. Precautionary guidelines have kept her social life limited. “You don’t get to meet people in the cafeteria or in the dorms because you’re not supposed to congregate anywhere,” Smith said. “There aren’t places to go sit down, get food or see people. I’ve only been able to get to know people in the athletics bubble.”

Regardless, Smith has enjoyed the change of scenery. While she misses Palo Alto’s year-round pleasant weatherwhich, let’s face it, no city could beatSeattle has its fair share of rain and clear air. “The campus is super beautiful, very greenI feel like I’m breathing in fresh air all of the time,” she said. “It’s right next to this district, so there are a lot of shops and stuff. On the other side are parks, and the water’s nearby.” 

A foodie fanatic, she has most savored taking advantage of the local restaurant selection; the sightseeing can wait. According to Smith, the district’s salient feature is its tasty Mexican and Thai cuisine.

As the school year begins, Smith is ready to get the ball rolling with her online classes. It seems, after a stuttering start and months of warming up, any interaction is fair game. “I’ve been waiting and waiting,” Smith said. “It seems like forever, since I haven’t been in school since March. I’m just excited to get going.”