After a full school year of no sports and competition, athletes are finally allowed to compete in the sports they love to play.
Many words can be used to describe how students are feeling about the return of sports but one word in particular has stood out — excitement.
Picture via Austris Augusts on Unsplash
“Since sports are now back, I feel very excited to be competing after such a long break,” said Godiva Collins, a fourth-year student at Laurier Brantford. “With all that has been going on with the pandemic, we have been deprived of competing in sports and has honestly left a lot of us in a state where all the motivation we had about sports before the pandemic has been gone.”
Motivation is an incentive that many athletes use to fuel their play and engage with one another. Due to such a long break away from the games they love, athletes have dealt with a lack of motivation and have had to rely on other values and techniques to keep themselves going.
“Maintaining a positive mindset and staying motivated was extremely difficult during the pandemic,” said Kayla Roach, varsity soccer player for Laurier Brantford. “I stayed connected with my trainers, coaches, and teammates through social media to foster my relationship with them while we were apart.”
As everyone was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, maintaining close relationships with family and friends became key to surviving through the tough time. Students found taking the time to reach out to coaches and teammates also helped maintain a positive mindset and keep their connection with sports intact.
Since many student athletes spent the same amount of time away from their respective sports, the shared struggles may help teammates form a stronger bond when they meet to play once again.
“I am most excited to play with my teammates and train with my coaches again,” said Roach.
“Since we were separated for such a long time, I predict that our team chemistry will be the greatest it’s ever been once we reunite. We will step on the pitch with a new attitude and an entirely new appreciation for the sport we play together — and this will positively influence our game.”
Team chemistry will be something to look out for since teammates have been separated for so long. While some upper-year students have graduated, new athletes will also be joining sports teams and new players will be added to squads.
However, team chemistry may not be so difficult to form this year due to the newfound respect for sports and extra encouragement to play once again that came from the long pause from in-person games. Many athletes just want to be back playing the sport they love with others who feel the same.
Picture via Marcus Spiske on Pexels
“One thing I missed the most from playing a sport that I am excited to do again is game day,” said Collins. “The preparations and practices leading up to game days where you get to showcase all the things you’ve worked on are what I have missed the most.”
A collective appreciation for loving what you do can make any situation easier to deal with when part of a team. The shared love of competing and wanting to win can help cultivate the right approach to take into the start of the season.
The physical aspect of staying fit has also been a topic of discussion since gyms and outdoor activities were shut down for a while. Many people were forced to find creative ways to stay healthy with limited resources.
“How I have kept fit during the long break has been through the exercises I do at home and the morning runs I go on 4 times a week,” said Collins. “I have also tried to keep a healthy diet as well knowing that I have to watch how I eat as well if I am not going to be as active.”
Home workouts have been the most popular regiment that people have followed since the start of the pandemic. With online courses and classes available through zoomand YouTube, people have had to transition over to a home setup to stay fit.
Picture via Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash
“Since gyms and soccer fields were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to create my own environment to stay healthy and fit,” said Roach. “To do so, I purchased my own equipment and created a gym in my garage to continue training individually.”
Some people were able to take extra steps to purchase equipment to help them stay fit and continue their training behind closed doors.
While the fall season is now underway for Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s sports, teams are also starting to train and think ahead for the winter season. Now with sports integrated back into universities and colleges, the anticipation is over and athletes are mainly expressing excitement and joy.
It will be a sight to behold when Laurier student-athletes represent the school with pride, passion, and enjoyment on their respective sports teams.