In this time of isolation and student-athletes working out at home, it must be easier to have a copy of yourself ready, willing and able to get off the couch and go do something, right?
The Gassiott twins think so and that’s how they’ve been filling their time in this period of uncertainty.
“It's definitely helped having him as a workout partner,” Joel said. “It gives me more of a drive than if I were working out by myself.”
James, a cross country runner and baseball player, and Joel, a pole vaulter, are both seniors in Sealy this year and for the most part, aren’t letting the coronavirus shutdown affect them.
“Of course, we're upset with all the cancellations, but I do have a good understanding of the need for all the distancing and cancellations and stuff,” James said. “(I’ve been able to do) a lot of planning, getting ready for next year and college. This summer I was planning on being a summer camp counselor down the road in Navasota, so that's still being looked at to see what they're going to do.”
“I'm learning how to play guitar but … it's kind of getting boring just sitting in the house all day,” Joel said. “I might start driving for Postmates and make some side cash.”
James and the baseball squad were nearing the beginning of the district portion of their schedule before the cancellations came raining down but he’s holding out to see what the resumption plans will be.
“We're still keeping our hopes up that we'll get a chance to play again later in the year,” he said of the baseball season. “We were in good shape going into district or whenever we stopped. We were really looking forward to playing this year, thought we were going to do pretty good.
“I'm not really sure on the plans for UIL right now,” he continued. “All we can really do is to keep up if we do get a chance to play again in some sort of way.”
On the other hand, Joel is still looking toward his summer track season to continue getting the college looks he wants now that he’s finished rehabbing a hamstring injury.
“I had a pretty good start to the season and then at the Needville meet (Feb. 28), in the 300-meter hurdles I started to hurt my hamstring,” Joel said. “By the Yoakum meet (March 5), it was so bad to where I couldn’t pole vault. So, my season was kind of at a halt already for a couple weeks.
“It's better now though,” he continued, “so I was able to jog and work out again. But, hoping that they somehow get the season going back again at least for the later meets like district or area.”
He added he’s already got some offers but is still hoping for more to come in over the summer.
“I've gotten a couple offers from smaller schools like Trinity in San Antonio and Southwestern in Georgetown,” Joel said. “I’m hoping to run track it at least a D-II school, hopefully a smaller D-I. And if I don't run track somewhere then I'll probably end up either Baylor or A&M Corpus.
“I'm hoping this season to get some bigger marks,” he continued, “so I can get better attention. But my goal would be to continue at the next level.”
Of course, the other part of the step up to college is advanced classes, some of which might be online. With school out of session and moving to all-online instruction, they’re getting some practice at what’s to come in the next chapter.
James said he’s tried working into a routine by accomplishing all of his schoolwork in the mornings so the afternoons can be spent working out or taking care of other college-preparation tasks.
“I try to get it done before noon every day and then do whatever I need to do,” he said of his schoolwork. “After that, I’ll do stuff around the house. There's a lot of scholarship applications I've been working on and I've got my brother, so we'll hang out, do some workouts and stuff to pass the time.”
“We've been working on schoolwork together online,” Joel said. “There’s not as much work as regular school but I kind of like regular school better; it's a little bit simpler … But we’ve had a bunch of free time to do some of the things that we couldn't during the regular school year.”
When things do go back to a regular school year, Joel provided some parting advice to younger athletes going through this situation as well even though their senior seasons aren’t in jeopardy.
“I'd say, try to work as hard as they could during this time,” he said. “Try to ask people for workouts or find them online; anyway they can to better themselves at their sport.”