OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Oshkosh North grad Sydney Supple, the MaxPreps National Player of the Year last year, was in the midst of her freshman season at Northwestern. The pitcher was mowing down lineups against opponents ranked in the top 5 in the nation, when the nation's focus shifted to the Coronavirus, shutting things down and forcing a new reality.
"It is all so crazy," Supple said. I think I am still coming to terms with so much. You have to all of a sudden leave the place you have called home the last few months and the team that you have called your family. And then you come back here, but home isn't quite home anymore. You can't just go see your family or go wherever you want to go."
And not only did her sporting reality shift, her family restaurant business, the Fox River Brewing Company, Fratellos, and The Melting Pot, all shut down as well.
"It was a really heartbreaking day for family." Suppler said. "The restaurants started with my family in the 1960s with my grandparents. The other day my whole family had to say goodbye to something that has defined our family, just close it up for a while. I know for my parents the hardest part was just telling all the employees that they don't have a place to work right now. That's unfortunate because our family is like 240 people deep."
Supple keep a famously frenetic schedule. 1 day after her high school season ended with an upset loss 2 years ago? She was playing with her club team a day later. And she has spent time raising thousands of dollars to build community softball fields in Oshkosh. So sitting still? That's perhaps her greatest challenge.
"I don't really know how to handle down time so it has been a work in progress," Supple said.
But she has been able to take a step back and take stock of what matters.
"It has been a humbling experience, for sure," Supple said. "When you have something you love and something that you think is your life taken away from you it gives you perspective. I think I learned that losing softball. And then I learned it as an even harder lesson with my family with the restaurants. Now I am at the point where I realize all I have in life is my family and my faith and my friends. That's all I need. I have always known that in my heart. But now that I am living it is really becoming true that that is all I need in life and I am cherishing what I have in life."
She is leaning on her faith, believing that life will eventually get back to normal.
"When this is over, I think we are all going to appreciate everything so much more," Supple said. "I will never take softball for granted again... I have been hungry before, but I have never been hungrier. And I think the world feels that way right now. Just to be able to appreciate sitting next to somebody, or walking next to somebody in a store. Those are things we all took for granted but are things that we will all appreciate a little more."