College navigates playing sports though a pandemic
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
“I’ve never had a year where it hasn’t been underneath the presence of COVID” – Kayla Ogilvie, Douglas College Women’s Basketball
The pandemic has been hard for a lot of Douglas students with routines being upended and campuses resembling a ghost town. However, there are still signs of normalcy. One of those comes in the form of athletics, where the teams are still playing despite the restrictions, albeit against no opponents. One of those teams is the Douglas College Women’s Basketball Team. To get an insight on what it is like to play sports during the pandemic, the Other Press interviewed members of the Royals women’s basketball team to ask them what it’s like to play in these pandemic times. In the first part of this interview, I talk with them about what the school is doing to tend to their needs as they practice under these unusual circumstances.
Collegiate sports operates under different rules than schooling does. In collegiate sports, you can play up to five seasons (known as eligibility seasons) before having to leave. Because of the pandemic, the Canadian College Athletics Association has decided that this season will not count towards a player’s eligibility.
The pandemic is not the only thing Kayla Ogilvie is struggling with, as she stretched ligaments in her ankle the day before this interview and is trying to balance on crutches for the first time. Ogilvie is studying Sports Science, and she explains that this is her first year on the team and at Douglas: “I’ve never had a year where it hasn’t been underneath the presence of COVID,” she said in an interview with the Other Press. She also got the opportunity to talk to the school board who wanted to know how the players are balancing work, school, and life in order to best tend to the needs of the students. This has been part of a network of services offered by the school to make sure that the students are safe.
One aspect of Douglas’ commitment to the health and safety of the students involves players being placed in phase groups. For example, Jessie Rempel, who is in her third year of the Bio Science program (third year of play) is currently in phase one. She explains the difference between the phases: “If we don’t feel particularly safe about being around a lot of people, we can choose to be in phase one where you’re not really sharing a ball or in contact with other teammates.” From there, players can advance to phase two, which is like three-on-three basketball, and phase three, which is the full practice. Rempel likes how the school, and women’s coach Steve Beauchamp really care about how the players are feeling in terms of their well-being.
While paying attention to the health of players is important, the school does not want to ignore the mental health aspect of a player’s well being. Therefore, along with all the other services offered, the school also has a mental performance consultant named Shelbi Snodgrass. For first year Sports Science student Laini Glover, she appreciates the help that Snodgrass has provided her, “She has been really helpful with keeping us on track with our classes and giving us advice on the mental aspect of the game.”
These times are tough for any student to deal with, but it’s good to know that in these times, the school is standing behind the students, and allowing them to still play the game they love, while also allowing them to tend to their physical and mental health. For part two of my interview with the Douglas College Women’s Basketball team, I’ll talk with the players about what is has been like going through the pandemic for them, the bonding, the repetitive nature, and the development of their skills in this indefinite loop of playing through the pandemic.