C/O The Canadian Press
How lockdown conditions affect indoor sports athletes
After it was announced that Ontario University Athletics sports will be put on pause until at least Jan. 27 due to a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, many athletes and others involved in these sports were understandably upset. This decision not only meant that they wouldn't be able to compete, but also that their preparations for the seasons ahead were also halted due to gyms and other amenities being forced to close.
In particular, the indoor sports were hit the worst. Volleyball and basketball had their seasons immediately postponed, which created a major interference. In particular, the men’s volleyball team dreaded the break the most, as they had won all their games throughout the season and still had the second half to go.
All four of McMaster’s volleyball and basketball teams had found significant success going into the break, amassing a total combined record of 18 to four.
The men’s basketball team had won five and lost only one of their OUA games, whilst going into the new year on a five win streak. Thomas Mastell, a second-year varsity basketball athlete expressed his disappointment with the season being postponed halfway through.
“Honestly, it’s just really disappointing at this point. The whole team has worked so hard this season to do well in the championship and to have it all halted all of a sudden really was stressful,” said Matsell.
When asked about how he feels about OUA being labeled as an amateur league by the Ontario government, Matsell defended the organization and described how this decision does not consider the diligence and care invested into varsity athletics.
“I feel that we’ve all been diligent in following all the COVID protocols so far this season. We have had a clean record throughout. Furthermore, to find out that the real reason why we cannot play anymore is due to not being “elite” makes me feel as if all our hard work so far wasn’t appreciated by the government,” said Matsell.
Although the OUA is meant to resume its games on Jan. 27, there have been rumors circulating that the lockdown may be extended for even longer. What effect will this have on the players moving forward? We will have to wait to find out.