Competing through COVID
A tale of two sports
By Chelsea Taylor
At a basketball practice, players walk into the gym and experience what it feels like to be hosed down with sanitizer. You have to sanitizing the balls you're going to use, your hands of course, and don't forget to wear your mask! Remember to stay at least 6ft from your teammates and forget about scrimmaging or even thinking about touching that person's basketball ball. So what do you even do at practice if basically all the drills you used to do can't happen anymore because of COVID-19?
Practice used to be a time to come and train and work together as a team, but now you can't even call it a team. When I spoke to Meghan Elliot, coach of the Ottawa Next level u19 team, she told me that it isn't even a team, it's now called a “training pod” because she doesn't have an actual season and they are just practicing fundamentals. With COVID - 19 you can't even get a team because at the moment almost every sport is changing to form practices and training pods because it is too risky to play games.
At least that's what I was hearing from Coach Elliot, but it seems COVID-19 restrictions vary from sport to sport.
When I spoke to Shilpa Rao, a grade 11 student who plays soccer, she said one of the only big things that has changed is shorter game time. Shilpa informed me that at the doors of the soccer dome where she plays has hand sanitizer stations, but no one there to mandate players to actually use it.
She also told me you don't need to wear masks as you play games and unlike basketball practices where only the coach and the players can come into the gym Shilpa said you are allowed to have one spectator come and view the game. They only reduced game time to minimize crossover of players at the doors.
Coach Elliot says basketball's tougher regulations affect her coaching style; she would rather do more intense drills and get her team prepared for future competition, but she had to change a lot of her drills because of the regulations.
“I am lucky I have been playing for so long and know drills off the top of my head," she said. "There is only so much you can do when you can't even touch the other person.”
When speaking to John Corrente, a gym teacher at Canterbury High School, he said he misses doing sports and being able to actually play games. Meghan and Shilpa feel the same way, too.
Shilpa gets her games back, but at what cost? Will Meghan's team ever get a season? As for Mr. Corrente, he just wishes he had less equipment to wipe down after class.