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While intramural leagues were cancelled, more rules and regulations were added to Gee-Gees team practices

Everyday I wake up and immediately scroll through my social media apps, seeing  news about COVID-19 in Ottawa, new cases, new restrictions.  Through all this, I just hope that the world is still put together enough that I can hit the field and practice with my Ultimate Frisbee teammates. 

Unfortunately, I have quickly come to accept that we’re probably not going to be gathering on Matt Anthony Field to throw discs much longer. 

By the beginning of the fall semester, it was clear that no matter what, this was not going to be a normal season for anyone as  various leagues announced the cancellation of sanctioned programming until Dec. 31, 2020. This snapped motivation for a lot of athletes. Without games and tournaments, it feels like there’s a lot less to work for. 

That said, the University of Ottawa was not so quick to pull the plug on sports as a whole. Before being given the okay to practice, athletes and coaches were required to partake in a Zoom orientation session where new safety measures were explained. Afterwards, each athlete and coach filled out an acknowledgment form and were allowed to join their team for practices. 

Right away, practices were different than what I had become used to over the years. Rather than putting on our cleats side-by-side, social distancing rules were in effect and we all sat two meters away from each other with our masks on. Even when masks came off and we hit the field, things were still not as they used to be. Frequent breaks to sanitize equipment and wash hands were taken, and an emphasis on spacing ourselves out during drills had been enough to change the game. 

While I was glad to be on the field with my fellow Gees playing the sport I love, it’s hard to put in 100 per cent when you’re not able to actually play 100 per cent of the game. 

I am certain that I am not the only Gee-Gee who relies on sport as an outlet. Without it, there’s less to look forward to, no way to burn out my competitive energy, or forget about school and work for a couple hours. Instead, there’s now strict rules I have to keep in mind while I practice the game. 

With an upswing of daily cases in the city, it didn’t take too long for the cancellation of the University of Ottawa’s intramural leagues. Following that, even more limitations were added to Gee-Gees practices to ensure the safety of players and coaches. 

Now, teams must separate and train in pods of six athletes. These pods will remain the same from practice to practice, equipment is not to be shared between pods, and attendance is gathered with the athletes in each pod clearly stated. Of course, this concept restricts potential exposure even within the team, but it even further limits the amount of things a team can do during practice. 

If I’m being completely honest, running drills and fitness is completely fine and feels great, but there’s something about ending practice without scrimmaging that makes me feel entirely unsatisfied. It feels wrong to end drills without high fiving a handful of teammates, or being unable to pat someone on the back after a good play. Even further, because we are divided into these pods, there is no opportunity to bond at all with other teammates. 

Realistically, if cases continue to rise, teams are going to have to continue to adjust and potentially, put practices on hold yet again.