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  • Writer's pictureGrace Yu

The Effect of Covid on Athletics: Training During Lockdown

NCSSAA and OFSAA championships have been cancelled for the fall and winter with the province's prioritizing academics. “I know that it's disappointing for students, parents and coaches, but I feel it was the right call,” states Athletic Director Ms. Port, who believes following the Ottawa Public Health Guidelines is the right choice to ensure student safety while reducing the spread of Covid-19.

The unpredictability of the spring and summer seasons is disheartening for all. Especially for grade twelves like Samantha Wiseberg, who is anticipating track and spring sports to highlight her last year.

Winner of the Junior Outstanding Male Athlete award in the year 2019-2020, Declan O’Kane’s intentions to play baseball and hockey in addition to his prior participation had to be cut short. “I was pretty mad because I was supposed to play hockey this year…” Many students resonate with Declan, as athletics play a leading role in our Earl of March school experiences. Creating unforgettable memories and connections are why talented athletes and individuals look forward to competing every year.

The discouraging loss of in-person extracurriculars is why a sense of school community is “important, more now than ever”. Ms. Port emphasizes the importance of getting involved in virtual clubs, staying active risk free, and the wellness of the student body.

As for sports outside the school environment, club teams and individuals are adapting in order to continue practicing. Athletic organizations have been taking safety precautions including restricting training sessions, holding frequent health screenings, and cancelling games.

Dancing competitively for ten years with Creative Edge Dance Academy, Nicole Shi’s biggest adjustment this summer was “the transition of in class lessons to at-home lessons” in her basement. Although in-person sessions have started as of September, all previous recitals were cancelled “which was probably the saddest part,” while uncertainty surrounds her upcoming season.

In addition, Covid has lasting consequences for those considering post secondary opportunities and higher levels of play. Complications are added to the recruitment process due to restrictions on travel and games, unbaling scouts to seek out talent. Triple A U18 hockey star Jonathan Kromberg has ambitiously set sights on playing in the NHL and is still actively pursuing his goal.

Fortunately, his process is only delayed as his tryouts for the Ontario Hockey League have been postponed, not cancelled.

Without a doubt, Earl athletes are passionate about sport. They are persistent to train despite the ongoing global pandemic. However, five outbreaks investigated by Ottawa Public Health have recently been linked to club sports*. These announcements should serve as a reminder to follow safety protocols for the sake of teammates and loved ones.

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