For many thousands of students at the University of Guelph, sport is a big part of their daily routine. Whether they’re a varsity athlete, play on an intramural team, or simply enjoy access to the gym, pool, or rink for personal exercise or enjoyment, athletics is an important part of student life, but what part does athletics play when there’s hardly any student life on campus?
Back in March 2020, campus emptied overnight as COVID-19 turned from an international news story into a global pandemic, and 20,000 undergrad students had to leave in-person learning behind. The end of March usually means playoff time for varsity teams, or it means students trying to burn off end-of-the-semester stress in the gym, but the start of the COVID-19 was the beginning of an all-new kinds of stress.
Before the fall semester, the U of G athletics department was able to put in place new safety protocols for the few hundred students living on campus or going to campus for one of a few in-person classes. Still, the Ontario University Association, the governing body for university athletics in Ontario, cancelled all team play and tournaments for the fall and winter, and now with a new lockdown, there’s that feeling that something very important in the fabric of student life has been lost, or at least temporarily misplaced.
This week on the podcast, University of Guelph Athletics Director Scott McRoberts takes us inside campus athletics, such as it is, at the U of G. He will discuss the COVID realities of athletics on campus, and how many people were using the facilities before the lockdown. He will also talk about how Guelph’s varsity athletes, including several Olympians, have had to pivot their training without their usual access, and what McRoberts is missing the most about his normally very busy athletics facilities.
So let’s talk about university athletics in the age of COVID on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can get updates about all University of Guelph teams, sports and athletic facilities at their website, although there are no games or tournaments planned for the rest of the semester. If you’re missing Gryphon Athletics, you can at least listen to the Gryph Nation podcast, and you can find that wherever you get your podcasts.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo Credit: U of G basketball player Jake Chaput courtesy of Gryphon Athletics.