School Life

The Effects of COVID-19 on Student Athletes

Sports have always made up an important part of student life at WPGA. Find out how that has changed during the pandemic, and how athletics have adapted to ensure a safe environment for students!

By Peyton Pownall (’22)

Imagine this: you’re on your way back from a swim meet, exhausted but pleased with your efforts and the team’s results. You sit back and relax on the bus ride home while munching on a snack that your friend is not so willingly sharing with you. Suddenly, one of your fellow teammates has managed to get a hold of the speaker, and they begin to play “Stacy’s Mom” on full blast as if there’s no tomorrow. Shortly enough, you find yourself and the rest of the team singing your hearts out. To the achingly brutal noise, Mr. Read looks back at everyone in utter disappointment, so naturally, everyone collectively sings louder. You’re smiling from ear to ear, and you hope that this moment never ends. But what brought you this great joy? The WPGA Wolves sports team experience.

Typically, at this time of year, school sports are in full swing. Student-athletes are trying out for teams, enduring morning practices, playing games, competing in tournaments, and advancing to the finals. Participating in school sports is something that many of us Wolves look forward to every year as we strive to bring home the title of first place, winners or champions; however, this year, things look undeniably different due to the restrictions of COVID-19. With the limitations of cohorts and no inter-school games and certainly no more singing of “Stacy’s Mom,” many of us may be wondering what this year’s sports seasons are going to look like? Are the teams running at all?

Fortunately enough, so far, all sports teams have been up and running. Swimming, cross country, soccer, and volleyball kick-started from the beginning of the year, and basketball season is right around the corner. Coaches are doing their absolute best to bridge the gap between protocols and a fun and successful athletic year, but this means that, to many athletes’ dismay, early mornings are still in order. Students are being dragged out of bed to show up to morning practices. As grueling and unrewarding as these may feel without any games to look forward to, many athletes take this time to develop their skills for next season. Realizing this, coaches are finding ways to honour the efforts of hardworking students. This year the swim team held the COVID Cup, which was noted by students as a success. Swimmers raced against those in their cohort, and they were able to share some friendly competition. It was not perfect, as swimmers still missed competing against other schools; nevertheless, they had fun and made do with what they could, which is really what this year is all about. 

Despite challenges, students continue to power through the season. With a lack of certainty, but an overload of hope towards future seasons, students have truly become grateful for the memories and experiences that they have shared during previous years. Whether it be the long bus rides full of karaoke, befriending students in other grades, going on trips to Victoria for basketball, watching Looney Tunes on the cross country California trip, or simply playing in games with your friends: a normal school sports season full of hustle, energy and lifelong memories will truly be missed. For one, I know what I’m going to miss most this year: going down to the gym to hear the drums’ echoing beat while watching Mr. Lu and Mr. Parker as they dominate the court in the student vs staff games. And most importantly, getting to wear casual clothes the next day when students inevitably take the win.

Athletes, benchwarmers, coaches, scorekeepers, bus drivers, those who prefer to cheerlead, and really anyone who makes the sports seasons possible, make sure to appreciate your fellow Wolves and all their hard work and dedication a little bit extra this year. Keep up the team spirit. On the count of three: one, two, three, Wolves!

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