TORRANCE - From obtaining a new state I.D. to having to pickup more shifts and work more hours to sharing an apartment with people you’ve just met, moving to a new state on your own brings day-to-day challenges.
With classes moving online at El Camino College and the cancellation of seasons for spring sports, out-of-state student-athletes are left with a semester of uncertainty facing their future.
ECC freshman women’s volleyball player Azalea Gutierrez said its been difficult being away from her teammates since she’s returned home to Arizona and the season being cancelled is depressing.
“We were working hard everyday in the sand, the team was doing great and pushing everyday to be better the next day,” Gutierrez said. “Being apart from my teammates and my friends at this time is hard and I hope that they are all safe and doing well.”
ECC sophomore baseball player Chasen Cosner has been home in Oregon for three weeks and plans to remain there for the rest of the semester until the pandemic dies down.
Due to coronavirus concerns the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) ruled out competitions for spring sports, changing their decision from ‘suspended’ to ‘cancelled’ on March 19.
Gutierrez found a job at McDonalds but was only able to work weekends because during the week she was balancing classes and practice before finding a second job at a Korean BBQ restaurant this semester.
“I never had a break,” Gutierrez said. “On the weekend, I worked 10 hour shifts [and] I would work two three nights during the week.”
With the restaurant being closed and the season being cancelled, Gutierrez said its been stressful and overwhelming that her day-to-day routine is ruined.
“I just want [things] to go back to the way it was,” Gutierrez said. “I was improving everyday in the sand and I was making money at work, now I have neither.”
Gutierrez visited ECC in March of 2019 with no intentions of attending ECC, let alone play volleyball.
Her boyfriend was in contact with ECC football coach Gifford Lindheim and she accompanied him on his visit. Lindheim asked if she played a sport and put her into contact with ECC volleyball coach Liz Hazell.
“I texted [coach Hazell] and the next day I met with her and my whole idea of ECC changed,” Gutierrez said. I wanted to move to California and play volleyball [and] it was the best decision.”
Gutierrez and her boyfriend rent a two-bedroom apartment in Koreatown with his uncle and aunt. However, she has returned to Arizona for the rest if the semester.
Cosner’s living arrangement in California was different as he shared a house with other baseball transfers from California State University of Dominguez Hills.
“Moving from a place where its very cold and wet 24/7 to warm and sunny really changed me as a player and just my well being,” Cosner said. “Leaving home is always tough but El Camino College was a place that felt easy to adapt to.”