Jordan Harvey and I have a Zoom call scheduled. Video conferencing is no longer just the realm of corporate meetings. In these times, it’s the future of human-to-human contact.
But he’s asked me to give him a call about an hour before our “meeting.” Just two weeks of staying safe at home and a simple phone call seems like a thing of the past.
The LAFC defender is on his way home from picking up meals for the next few days. Harvey, along with his wife Kim, reached out to the Club about helping the chefs and cooks at the LAFC Performance Center that are without work during the training moratorium. It’s LAFC’s version of curbside takeout. Payment is completed electronically, and players and staff can pick up a few days' meals at a time.
The trip will likely be Harvey’s only excursion from his neighborhood this week. The ride back is a perfect time to chat. Because once he’s back home, he’s got a variety of roles to fill that include dad, teacher’s assistant, and obstacle course creator – more on that later.
“You have to look at it from the positive perspective and take some of the positives out of such a negative thing that’s going on in the world,” Harvey says of his recent time at home. “We’re trying to just be present with our family and enjoy the time that we have because this doesn’t happen very often.”
Never in his 16-year MLS career has the defender had this much family time. With a four-year-old and baby born just over a month ago, family time has been Harvey’s silver lining amidst worldwide concerns over COVID-19.
Like many parents at home with young children, the Harveys have embraced having everyone under one roof for an extended period of time. That’s not to say it hasn’t been without its challenges. But through implementing a routine, they’ve made this new normal something that works for the entire family.
“We’ve just really had to get into a routine. And that’s the major thing,” Harvey says. “My daughter has school at 9 am that we do on Zoom. From 9 am to 10 am, she is doing that. We kind of have a schedule for her. Just for her to be able to have some order in her life, which we find for her helps.
Harvey’s routine starts with the morning shift. He’s up around 6 am to take care of the newborn and give his wife a chance to get some sleep. After breakfast, it’s time for school.
“Our structure is the mornings are about working out your mind and the afternoons are about working out physically,” Harvey says.
Harvey sits with his four-year-old daughter each morning and serves as a de facto teacher’s assistant as her and her preschool classmates go through the day’s lesson with the teacher.
“Her preschool teacher set it up. We talked with her and she said, ‘I want to continue to do something.’ And so, we talked to her about Zoom. Now, about 15 kids hop on Zoom at 9 am for class and she goes through a curriculum that’s really great,” Harvey says. “They go over all kinds of things. Last week, they were on Africa. This week, they’re on Australia. So, they go over the animals, the climate, everything.
“I sit next to her every morning and help her with the computer. But she’s focused and keyed in and loves every second. A lot of it is just seeing her classmates and being able to say hi and goodbye and interact with somebody other than us. That’s the biggest part I think.”
Class gives way to playtime in the yard and lunch. Which, in turn, leads to nap time for both daughters, allowing Harvey to get his daily workout in.
Afterward, Harvey goes from professional footballer to obstacle course coordinator.
“For me, I’ve tried to incorporate her at the end of my workouts. It’s when she wakes up and she comes out. As I’m working out, I’ll create obstacle courses for her to get some fitness and run around the house,” Harvey says. “It’s something as simple as say jump 10 times on the left, jump 10 times on the right, run around in a circle, go through the tire swing, down the slide, swing 10 times, and then shoot a basket. It just keeps her busy and keeps her moving and active.”
Aside from the daily routine, Harvey says he hasn’t had much downtime to pursue any new hobbies – having a newborn will do that to you. But he hopes to pick up the guitar again and plans on playing more music with his wife.
To get through this period, Harvey once again comes back to taking advantage of an unprecedented amount of time together.
“We sit down for dinners and eat as a family. And just take it all in. So often we’re on the move and we’re busy and some of this family time is taken for granted.
“Right now, we’re just trying to realize that this isn’t normal but let’s take advantage of the time we have with one another and try to make the most of it.”