Bored during this time of coronavirus?
Not Brittany Hochevar.
No, the veteran pro beach volleyball player was hit with what her father Brian called “a triple-decker stress sandwich.”
First, Hochevar got married. A week later she gave birth to a son, Maverick. And not only was Maverick a preemie at 1 pound, 14 ounces — he’s doing well and a robust 15 pounds now — she’s dealing with it all during this time of coronavirus.
“I feel like I’m stepping into my greatest role of all time,” said Hochevar, the former Long Beach State indoors second-team All-American who has four AVP titles to her credit. “I like who I’m becoming, but this is one hell of a training ground.”
Hochevar and Anthony Hart married last October 12 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They had been dating for a year, although they had been friends for eight years after meeting at the Yard, a well-known training gym in Hermosa Beach frequented by numerous beach volleyball pros.
A week after the wedding, Maverick was born.
“It was crazy,” Hochevar said last week during a Maverick feeding. “I actually labored for two weeks with him, and I went in (to the doctors), and they sent me away. I told them, ‘My wedding is this week in Tennessee, can I go?’ And they said yeah.
“I flew to Tennessee and we got married and the whole time I was in labor. It was pretty wild. He wanted to party. He wanted his place on the dance floor.”
Maverick spent 109 days in the natal intensive care unit before he came home, said Hochevar.
“Everybody told me, ‘Nothing prepares you for motherhood,’ and I feel like motherhood punched me right in the face.”
Typically a new mother has a wealth of friends and family to help, but that’s not in Hochevar’s quarantine reality.
“The little things right now are not having help, not having a community to come along beside you, and give you that relief so I could deal,” Hochevar admitted. “I never had that chance. It was just ready go. It’s a selfish perspective, but the strength that I can pull is from generation after generation that have gone before that have done that same thing, and they’re still standing.”
Hochevar, a 6-foot right-sider, has always been the picture of strength and fitness. But Maverick’s early months were one of the most challenging moments she has faced, as the infant dealt with heart and lung issues.
“This has been brutal. Brutal, but I felt like everything in me was trained for that moment somehow,” said Hochevar, who will turn 39 on May 26.
Maverick has developed into a strong, healthy and active 15-pound boy. Fortunately for Hochevar, her husband has been working from home, providing critical assistance. Hart is a medical sales rep.
“I’m actually trying to wrap my mind about this. I’m unpacking a lot of it, you know how you have things in your head, and how you want things to go. Nobody wants to be a laboring bride. That’s already stressful enough,” Hochevar said.
“I think I’ve had to let go of how I wanted things to go in my head, and just accepting things as they were and they went along. His health was premium, his health was the only concern, day in and day out.”
Named VolleyballMag.com’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2017 when she won three AVP events with Emily Day, Hochevar hasn’t had much time to consider the 2020 season, presuming that there is one.
“I haven’t landed on something as far as a partner is concerned. Right now it’s more about me approaching my own training from a new lens,” Hochevar said. “My DNA has changed. I feel like I have super-human mom strength, and a much greater perspective, so as I come back slowly, I really wanted to train not for anything else, but just for me.
“Kind of get reacquainted in my own skin and re-learn myself. What’s nice is that I have some time both with Maverick coming so early, and with the quarantine pushing things back, it kind of got me some time.”
She said she plans to reprise her role as an Olympic beach volleyball commentator in Tokyo 2021.
But that’s a long way off and doesn’t include being in the sand.
“In the meantime, “I‘m still wondering what the next event is, what is on the calendar, and wondering if I can get myself on a level that I’ll be happy with.”