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TikTok, FaceTime and at-home workouts: Sky’s Gabby Williams shares glimpse into what it’s like to be quarantined in France

Sky players are turning to TikTok, FaceTime and photography to keep themselves preoccupied for the foreseeable future as they remain quarantined in an attempt to help contain COVID-19.

If there’s one silver lining in the situation, Gabby Williams said, it’s that she can use this break from basketball to rejuvenate herself for the upcoming WNBA season, which is still scheduled to start May 15.
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Sky forward Gabby Williams said she wasn’t going to do it.

But on Monday, Day 7 of being quarantined in France alone with her cat, she cracked.

“I actually just downloaded TikTok,” Williams said with a slight hint of shame in her voice.

Williams was trying to hold off from downloading TikTok, the trendy video-sharing app, as long as possible because it reminded her of the defunct app Vine.

“I’m the biggest Vine fan,” Williams said. “And I remember I would spend, like, four hours a day watching Vines — like I can have a conversation in just Vines — and so I knew I would love TikTok. I didn’t download it because I was like, ‘I will get nothing done for the rest of my life if I downloaded TikTok.’ ”

But what better time to scroll hours away than now?

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase rapidly across the world, Sky players have turned to social media, FaceTime and at-home workouts to keep themselves preoccupied for the foreseeable future.

Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, who returned to Chicago last week from Russia after the Euroleague season was suspended indefinitely, spent their first week back at their Deerfield home giving the place a deep clean and catching up with friends on FaceTime.

“It’s so weird for us because every time we come back from overseas it’s like, we literally have maybe five days, maybe,” Vandersloot said. “We’re so go, go, go. So it was so surreal for us to come back here and just, like, have nothing but time.

“We’re enjoying it right now. Obviously, we’re super bummed our season was canceled and we’re kind of anxious about the next season, but we’re just doing the best we can to just take advantage of this time that we got off.”

Meanwhile, new guard Sydney Colson, who spends the offseason in Houston, is hoping to use the extra time to read a book, while forward Cheyenne Parker is exploring her creative side, trying her hand at photography and music.

Williams is in a unique situation, though, compared to the rest of her teammates. After Parker left France late Wednesday, Williams is the only Sky player who decided to stay overseas during the pandemic.

“To be honest, everyone is telling me to try to come back, but I feel like things are going to get better in France before they get better in the States,” said Williams, who isn’t sure when she’ll return. “I’m just playing it by ear. I’m not going to rush back to the States to just be quarantined again.”

Quarantining in France wasn’t that bad at the start, Williams said. Lattes, a neighboring city to Montpellier, is a coastal town with beautiful running paths.

But the quarantining rules have become stricter as the country has gone on a near lockdown.

Now, Williams said, she isn’t supposed to leave her house for anything except essential needs, like groceries or medicine. If she does leave her apartment, she said she has to bring her passport and a paper that has her address to show people why she’s outside.

“It’s really tough not seeing other humans,” Williams said. “Even when I go to the store, it’s like a ghost town.”

And Williams believes the situation in the U.S. is heading down a similar direction as France.

“We were saying the same thing here in France, ‘Oh, they’re not going to quarantine us like they did in Italy,’ ” Williams said. “And I think in the States, people are kind of saying that now. So everyone thinks that they’re quarantined, but trust me, it’s going to get much worse. Because everyone in the States thinks they’re quarantining, but it can get a lot more strict and a lot more limited.”

Part of the reason Williams decided to play in France in the first place is because she knew she would be taken care of. Williams expects to receive a full payout for her contract, and if the checks were to stop coming, she said, she would be able to file for unemployment in France. She also doesn’t have to pay rent or utility bills. President Emmanuel Macron has suspended those payments indefinitely.

“Taxes are heavy, but it’s for things like that,” she said.

If there’s one silver lining in the situation, Williams said, it’s that she can use this break from basketball to rejuvenate herself for the upcoming WNBA season, which is still scheduled to start May 15.