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For high school hockey player, ‘everything has been turned upside down’ by coronavirus

LGBTQ coronavirus impact: Anthony Arnoni used to live and breathe hockey, but now the shutdown has ended that.

Anthony Arnoni plays high school hockey in Illinois.

Outsports is asking LGBTQ people in sports how they are impacted by the coronavirus crisis and its effects on all aspects of daily life. Today: High school hockey player Anthony Arnoni. He identifies as gay.

During this COVID-19 crisis, I have learned a few life lessons

For the past 13 years, practically every day was centered around my hockey schedule, and if it wasn’t, then I was doing something relating to hockey. To have this Corona-storm roll into our lives and halt pretty much everything has been quite shocking.

I haven’t been able to play hockey in almost two months, there have been no NHL games to watch, and everything has been turned upside down. All of the Illinois high school hockey teams have had to cancel their seasons, meaning there will be no state champion this year.

I am now only able to be online with my best friends I used to see every day. We know we have to practice social distancing to decrease our chances of contracting a deadly disease. It sounds like a terrible sci-fi movie, but it’s our reality.

I now have hours each day to stare at the ceiling, drink coffee, take a nap and wander around my house and am noticing things and reflecting.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve taken the small pleasures in life for granted. I miss being able to be in the locker room with my teammate and sitting in the parking lot together after practice. I just wish I could go back to those moments in the game where we huddled together, doing our pre-game speeches to get ready.

One of the most important people in my life is my grandma. About six years ago she had a double lung transplant, which puts her at a very high risk from the coronavirus. She lives two blocks away from me, but to protect her health I can no longer visit her and hang out.

I need to make a conscious effort, once this quarantine is over, to appreciate the things in life that are privileges. Things like seeing family, going to the grocery store without worry, seeing people on the street and basic human connection.

Being home has made me focus on trying to stay healthy and in shape since I am no longer conditioning four days a week and lifting the other three. During my time of isolation I have become the master of improvisational home workouts, that include using outside furniture and park benches to maintain my fitness.

Even though my season is over and because I’m a senior, my competitive hockey career is likely at an end. It does not mean that I am hanging up my skates completely. Hockey will forever be a part of me. The foundation of me as a person has been built through this sport and that foundation would break apart if I were to walk away from the sport.

Anthony Arnoni, 18, will be graduating from East Leyden High school in Franklin Park, Ill., in May 2020. He hopes to go into the field of plastic surgery after he continues his education. He has played on his high school hockey team for all four years as a defenseman. He can be contacted via email (alarnoni22@gmail.com) Instagram (@a.arnoni) and Snapchat (@anthony_arnoni).

Read Anthony’s coming out story about being the high school homecoming king.

If you are an out LGBTQ person in sports and want to tell us how the coronavirus crisis has affected your life, email Jim Buzinski (kandreeky@gmail.com).