Grayslake Central senior Coleman back to sports after COVID quarantine
It wasn't just the idea of missing basketball and football that bothered Amarion Coleman.
Coleman, who goes by Mari, was worried about being too sick to fulfill his duties as the "man of the house."
Getting a positive COVID-19 test in mid-February was the last thing that Coleman, a star basketball player and football player at Grayslake Central, needed.
He had things to do.
Coleman was in the midst of trying to salvage his senior basketball season, which was delayed and shortened due to the pandemic, and had finally tipped off just a couple of weeks before his diagnosis.
He was also getting ready for the final football season of his life, a season that was also delayed and shortened due to the pandemic and was due to kick off within about a month of his diagnosis.
"It was like I had a cold, so it wasn't as bad as a flu, but I did throw up once," Coleman said. "Mostly I was just weak, and super tired. I had to quarantine for 14 days and miss two weeks of basketball. When I came back to basketball, there were only four or five days left of the season. And then football started right away and I didn't have enough practices to play in our first game (last weekend), so I missed that, too.
"It was sad and depressing. I was just like, 'It's my senior year, and I've already missed so much. Man, I can't catch a break.' "
Coleman certainly doesn't get many breaks at home either.
He is often busy trying to be a good son, and a good big brother.
Coleman doesn't have any contact with his father. So as the only male in his house, he feels a certain responsibility to care for his mother Sherase and his 10-year-old sister Amara.
"I try to help with the cleaning so that my mom doesn't have to do it when she comes home from work because I know she's really tired," Coleman said. "It's tough because when I'm done cleaning, then I've got to help my sister with her homework, then it's like, there's suddenly more cleaning to do.
"There's always just more to do. It's a lot."
Adulting is definitely a lot, especially when you're trying to teenage.
And trying to recover from COVID.
"I felt bad for about four to five days," Coleman said. "The really bad part was missing everything.
"But it's easy to sit there and pout and be mad about everything. You just have to face reality. This kind of stuff happens sometimes, especially in these crazy times. I was just trying to focus each day to get better and push forward."
Coleman, who was an all-Northern Lake County Conference selection in both football and basketball in 2019-20 as a junior, finally caught up and got to where he should have been.
As he began to feel better, he did Zoom workouts with the basketball team to get back in shape. He also worked out on the elliptical machine at his house and played basketball at a nearby park by himself to get some shots up.
"I played in our last three (basketball) games and then I was also doing what I could with the football team," said Coleman, a slashing guard who would love to play basketball in college. "For the (season-opening football) game on Friday, I was on the sidelines in my jersey trying to be as supportive as I could."
Being a vocal leader is something that Coleman would be doing whether he was playing or not. He says it's in his nature.
"Mari is like another coach," Grayslake Central football coach Michael Maloney said. "He was great with being a leader and keeping the kids excited. He was still coming to all of our practices and helping out."
Coleman is a speedy cornerback who should bolster the Grayslake Central defense, which put together a solid showing last week against defending NLCC champion Antioch, which managed just 8 first-half points before pulling out a 34-28 victory over the Rams.
"Standing there watching, I was wishing I could be out there, but I knew the best way I could support the team was to use my voice and bring the energy on the sidelines," Coleman said. "Whatever coach was yelling, I was repeating. If guys were making mistakes, I would go up to them and tell them to just focus on the next play. I was jumping up and down to get my teammates excited.
"Now, I'm just excited that I can be out there, too. I can't wait to go out there with my brothers. We waited so long for this season. I can't wait to get on the field and have fun."
For much of his childhood, Coleman was not only without his dad, but he and his sister also had to share their home with their three cousins. The cousins' mother had gotten very ill and Coleman's mom, their aunt, took them in. When their mother died, all three cousins stayed with the Coleman family until they were old enough to go off to college, or into the real world.
So, that was five kids, and one mother.
That's when Coleman started growing up faster.
"My mom is very strong and she works really hard and I think I learned a lot from her," Coleman said. "I think I also matured faster than a lot of other kids my age. I've overcome some adversity and I think that's made me who I am. When I get older and things get tough, I don't think it will hit me as hard as some people. I'll be ready for it."
"I'm proud of that. When I look at myself in the mirror, I'm proud to be who I am."