After the cancellation of autumn middle school sports, middle school athletes are looking for different ways to engage in sports in this new COVID-19 environment. During this time everyone is having to be more inventive and creative in their ways of being active, whether they are isolating and unable to leave the house or if they are looking for a place outside of school where they can participate in the sports they love.
The country was under a national lockdown until December 2, which meant no amateur sports were allowed. Now that the country has reopened amateur sports are permitted again. Many clubs are reopening and starting to hold practices. Mr. Patrick Severijns, middle school PE teacher talked about how several students had to isolate due to a club they joined. “We had several people isolating because they all participated in the same club or had affiliations to the same club. So, the question is how much do you want to stretch your bubble?”
When someone from a club team may have had coronavirus it causes others to have to isolate or in the worst case spread it to other people at school or in another club someone takes part of. Mr. Severijns agrees in the idea of taking part in sports outside of school but thinks that students should aim to keep a distance and avoid close contact (e.g tackling) with other players.
Ms. Jenny Newell, the school’s athletics trainer, agrees with this sentiment and says that students should participate in sports but be aware of how they are doing it and how it affects their community. There is no need to cancel team sports all together but athletes should assess what they are doing before they join. There is so much variability in this situation. If they are not socialising a lot, it may be safe to join a club and to slightly widen their bubble. However, if they are socialising and going out a lot they might withhold from joining a club because they may be carrying germs from different groups to a larger number of people.
The situation is not black and white. Consider the bigger picture of how coming into close contact with a large number of people will affect someone’s entire community. “I don’t want it to sound like it’s an either or, you know, like it’s not just like well you only see just your family so go join a club, but it is about being aware of the circumstances in the greater world in your community and then in your tighter circles,” said Ms. Newell.
Mr. Ryan Erikson, middle school athletic director, wants people to be aware of how the cases are rising and for them to act accordingly. At the beginning of this semester the cases were low and it seemed safe to interact with other people and join clubs. Now that the number of cases is rising, he advises students to exercise alone or with a family member and to withhold from participating at a club.
Eighth-grader Kanak Roy is participating in sports outside of school and hasn’t had to isolate because of it. She plays tennis at the
Paddington Recreational Grounds and feels they are taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. Again, take into account that tennis is a naturally distanced sport which will not provide much scope for germ spread. This comes back to the idea of being careful in how they participate in sports.
Mr. Erikson, Ms. Newell and Mr. Severijns agree that exercise is indispensable for students’ physical and mental well-being. Ms. Newell and Mr. Severijns agree that while it is good to participate in sports, doing exercise at home is just as helpful. “So, I don’t want people to think, ‘oh my gosh, I can’t go play football with 11 other people on my team, that’s not good.’ Any kind of cardiovascular is the key,” said Ms. Newell.
Playing sports at a club is fine, but Ms. Newell thinks that students should make sure to take into account how being in contact with a larger group of people impacts one’s bubble or direct community.
If the UK or London has to go into lockdown again, Ms Newell said any cardiovascular activity is useful and essential in keeping you healthy. YouTube videos are extremely helpful in this situation. For example, YouTube channels that have a two week exercise regime allow people to make sure they are getting that essential movement each day. When sports clubs are closed, people are still permitted to go to parks and walk around their neighborhood. People’s daily dose of exercise can also be as simple as running up and downstairs for a few minutes. Exercising at home will have to become a familiar activity to everyone in the event of another lockdown.