COVID 19 has affected countless aspects of all our lives. However, athletes around the world have lost the opportunity to compete in the sports they love. Sports are an outlet for many children, teens, and adults. They teach discipline and teamwork. They create lifelong bonds and friendships. But most importantly they unify communities.
As you, the reader must know, WGSS is a highly competitive school when it comes to high school sports. We have won an innumerable amount of Fraser Valley and Provincial championships in various sports, but predominantly in basketball.
But this year is a season like no other. Under the guidelines for youth team sports, it states that “All organized indoor and outdoor sports for people 21 years of age and younger should follow viaSport’s Return to Sport Phase 2 guidance with respect to maintaining physical distance for participants. This means games, tournaments, and competitions are temporarily suspended for teams”. These restrictions also include not being able to scrimmage during practice. Although these rules are devastating for our athletes and the thoughts of having a modified season have now vanished, we all understand that in the big picture it is more important to sit out one season than never compete again. Short-term pain for long-term gain!
I decided to ask some of our schools own gator athletes about their thoughts on our current situation and this is what they have to say:
“As far as my thoughts go for the season that never happened, there have been definitely pros and cons but overall I believe this was an excellent learning opportunity not just for myself, but for my teammates and the team as a whole. […] Personally, I think covid was a blessing in disguise. However, the loss of games and scrimmages in practice were definitely missed, along with team trips and tournaments. I am disappointed we couldn’t have a season, but I’m grateful that the gyms were open to shoot and that we could at least practice.”
– Isobel McNeill, Grade 9 student-athlete
“Basketball has definitely been different this year, I wouldn’t say I’m mad, just disappointed because our team has real potential this year. I miss playing games and tournaments and that rush of adrenaline in a close game. I definitely have been feeling myself improve a lot and I strive to improve more in the off-season. I know that next season we will be more than ready. I feel bad for all the seniors on our team though because this was supposed to be their big senior year and we’re supposed to go out with a bang. I just hope things get back to normal soon.”
– Amanda Cowley, Grade 11 student-athlete
“It really sucks that we aren’t able to scrimmage against other teams, but practices have been really fun! I think without the competitive component to our basketball season (versing other teams), we’ve grown closer as a team and have worked harder. I look forward to next year’s basketball season getting back to normal.”
– Grade 10 student-athlete
“I am very disappointed, I miss playing games so much and I even miss playing games or scrimmaging within the team during practice but one thing I miss most is watching games that took place before our games and just sitting with the team fooling around on the bleachers watching some other teams play”
– Averyl Foden, Grade 11 student-athlete
“I am extremely disappointed and sad that there is no season more than half of my excitement about school is from all the basketball practices, tournaments, and the bond that I create with my teammates’ whether it’s hanging out every day after school before our games, carpooling or even getting a morning shoot in before my school day starts. I still feel like I am improving without gameplay, I am perfecting my fundamentals and really working on my weaknesses making sure that I still have the same energy and mindset to compete even if it’s not for a season. Hopefully, we can all go back to playing basketball and I have my senior year to play the game I love and win with my incredible teammates”
– Fania Taylor, Grade 11 student-athlete
Our hardworking student-athletes are honing their individual skills and using this season to learn and grow stronger for next year!
The loss of our basketball season has affected not only our athletes but our school community as a whole. During the basketball season, the tournaments and games were popular social events for WGSS staff and students as well as for members of the Walnut Grove community. The exhilarating environment on game day was indescribable and our gymnasium was filled with gator spirit and pride. Basketball unified our school, all students no matter their interests enjoyed being a part of the crowd on game day. Although the loss of our basketball season has affected many students and staff, I feel that it has taught everyone a very valuable lesson to not take anything for granted and next year when the 2021/22 season starts we will have learned to appreciate all the little things (i.e. scrimmaging in practice, game days, watching from the bleachers, travelling, etc.) that we hadn’t appreciated in the past.
As a student-athlete myself I understand the challenges we are facing to continue playing the sports we love, but even with a mask on and required social distancing our teams will continue to be optimistic in hopes for a 2021/22 season.
Now more than ever we must stay positive and persevere because (hopefully) next year we will be back at it and winning championships!