Coronavirus Diaries: Aria Nagai


That’s me doing a quick dribbling drill in my driveway trying to get some touches in and doing drills I can do on my own. This quarantine made me realize I really just need a ball and some space to continue to improve my game.

Aria Nagai, Sports Editor

Coronavirus Diaries is a series of diary-type entries written by students and staff documenting the day to day activities and experiences in quarantine. If you are interested in submitting an entry, contact us at [email protected] 

Sitting at my desk, waiting for my pork to defrost so I can make lunch for my family, I finally decide to be productive and write this diary entry after putting it off for the past couple weeks. So I’m playing the songs my friends have recommended over the coronacation and grinding out this diary no entry as I reflect on my days in quarantine. 

When COVID-19 first caught my attention in mid-February, it seemed like a distant virus that would probably not affect me in America. With relatives in Japan, the only real threat I saw was not being able to visit my family over the summer and the reality that my grandparents may contract the virus. But as cases in Virginia began to rise and ultimately school was canceled for the rest of the year, my heart hurt. At first I was angry. Angry that the coveted “second semester senior” months were taken from me, after four years of hard work. Angry that my final high school soccer season was over before it even started. Most of all, I was angry at how I didn’t cherish the moments I had, taking the time I had with friends and classmates for granted. When it hit me that I would never walk the halls of Chantilly as a student again, never have a senior night that I had looked forward to so dearly, never spend another CT with my friends, it hit me hard. I was genuinely speechless. 

Being completely honest, I’m a pretty pessimistic person. I tend to always complain about classwork or soccer practice or just minor inconveniences, always fearing the worst possible outcome. My mom always talks about something called “kotodama” which is Japanese for “soul of language.” Essentially, everything you say has a soul and can affect your daily life, so my constant complaining and joking about not wanting to go to school built up and ultimately came true. So I decided to try to stay optimistic and hope for better things to come, praying that the positive “kotodama” will bring back normalcy into our lives. 

I started off with the little things, trying to tick things off of my long list of things I’ve put off because I simply didn’t “have enough time.” Now that I have all the time in the world, I decided to kick off my Marvel movie marathon. I finished in about a week and a half. Did I spend most of my day sitting in front of the TV, playing movie after movie? Yes. Do I now finally get the “I love you 3000” reference? Yes. Progress. Next came my impulsive decision to buy a ukulele, just ‘cause. And I can now confidently play about four songs. Progress. I now cook for my family more than ever, looking up new recipes to try out and force my family to tell me that what I made is tasty. 

But my biggest goal for this quarantine is to be fit and ready for preseason at Princeton. With no soccer practice and no coach yelling at me to do sprints, at first it was hard to find the motivation to actually get out of the house and run on my own, and I would make excuses. Why should I workout and try so hard to be fit when I probably won’t even end up having a freshman season? What’s the point? The point is I’m an athlete. I can’t sit around for five months with the excuse of being quarantined and expect to play at the college level. I was recruited for a reason, and I intend to prove to my college coaches that they chose the right player. So everyday, even on my laziest days, I go out and run or workout. To make it easier, I run with my brother, or FaceTime my friends and have them do workouts or yoga with me. I push myself everyday, hopeful that this hard work will pay off; if not during my freshman year, during the rest of my collegiate soccer career.

With every quarantine activity I pick up, I always keep “kotodama” in the back of my mind. Of course, it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I find myself looking at Snapchat memories and reminiscing of the fun times I had with friends, sad that I can’t spend time with them right now. But I’m also hopeful for the future. Hopeful that I’ll be able to hangout with my friends one last time before we go our separate ways in college. Hopeful that I’ll make more memories over the summer that will last a lifetime. And hopeful that this pandemic will teach everyone to not take life for granted, as it can be taken from you in an instant. I know quarantine is the last thing we all want to be doing right now, but it’s for the best. I know for me, this quarantine has given me time to reflect on what I value and work towards my goals. Even though it seems hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I encourage everyone to stay positive; find the little things throughout the day that make you happy. Check on your friends, FaceTime, Netflix party, play video games, what have you. Just know that in time, things will get better. Now, excuse me while I go take the pork out of the microwave.