Daylon’s Daily: Traveling in the pandemic

Hicks’ season-high is six feet, six inches for high jump



Daylon Hicks jumps over the 6-foot-4 bar on Jan. 14 at The Podium in Spokane.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

Traveling can often be described as an experience that is both exciting and full of relaxation; however, traveling for sports during the pandemic is a whole different experience. 

The thoughts that flow in my head while traveling are specifically focused on the expectation I set for myself when I jump over the bar and how I am feeling physically. Doing high jump involves more mental strength than physical strength because being strong physically is great and all, but the mind is where the real work is involved. 

The concept of high jump is mind-boggling to begin with, a human doing a shape to clear over a bar being held by support poles. The process of high jump is an art form, every step has to be right, and that is where my mind goes when I am on the team bus, correlating high jump with art. 

Dealing with some toe issues, I knew right away that this meet would be a hard one, but one I wanted to excel in. The New Mexico Team Open consisted of some of the best college and professional track athletes in their respective categories. 

Waking up at 6:31 and getting ready, my mind was focused on gaining respect. With indoor meets last season being stressful because of COVID-19, I was excited to be traveling again and gaining new experiences. When I arrived on campus waiting for the team bus, I was greeted by my weights coach, Jayson Gibb, as he addressed everything that I needed to do to excel. My mentality was set from that point forward. 

Driving to Spokane was a little stressful because of the mask mandate. My ears were hurting because of how tight the straps of the KN95 mask were. 

Heading off to the airports was rough because airport security was very strict about the mask policy and the rule of staying six feet apart. 

On the plane, flying above the clouds felt unreal, but my mind still was focused on my competition. Finally, making it to Albuquerque, the situation was tough because our team did not get to the hotel until 9 p.m., and we did not have the chance to eat. 

Hungry for food, I searched around the city for a fast food place but came up empty. After ordering delivery an hour later, I finally received some much-needed rest. 

At 6 a.m., my alarm went off, and I felt tired but determined to jump well. My roommate for the trip, Mitch Jacobson, and I headed to get some breakfast. After breakfast, we went over to the track. Each step closer to the track, my heart beat faster and faster. 

The indoor track for University of New Mexico was huge and had a weird elevation that impacted high jump. Warming up, I felt confident, but I started to get worried once I saw all the men and women piled together in the same area. 

I kept my composure and started to struggle with my toe, which eventually became my downfall for the meet. Despite the meet not going the way I anticipated, I kept my wits about me and now plan to rebound at the WSU Invitational this weekend.