The Return of School Sports in Our Community

The Return of School Sports in Our Community

Erica Congo, Editor in Chief

In March of 2020, the world was struck by a global pandemic that led to the shutting down of schools, jobs, activities, and future plans for the rest of the year. Students were forced to switch to an online style of learning, one that meant that a lot of the activities that were loved and enjoyed were abruptly put to a pause with an unpredictable ending. One of these activities includes athletics, something that was a huge part of numerous students’ lives. In August 2021, GAA was finally able to return to full in-person learning, meaning that a number of dearly missed activities were able to resume. Students at GAA have expressed their excitement and joy for the upcoming sports seasons and athletic activities. “I am so excited and hopeful for the teams this year that are going to compete,”  says Eje Idemudia, a senior at GAA. Students from KG1-Grade 12 returned to join athletics, whether it was in P.E. or after-school sports teams. Nevertheless the impacts of the pandemic on sports are still very much prevalent, the marks left tainting our athletic lives strongly but not forever. 

The community at GAA has noticed a difference in students behavior and attentiveness as well as overall enthusiasm since physical activities/athletics have resumed at GAA. Many students use sports as a muse and as a stress-reliever. “School can be stressful, and I’m excited to relieve that stress through sports,” says Eje. The faculty themselves has seen improvements as well. “The overall spirit of our school has seen improvement,” states Mr. Thompson, IBDP English teacher and Cross Country coach. “Sports provide an outlet for students to relieve their stress, and I have noticed positive effects in the classroom.” Research done by the ChildFund Rugby Organization has shown that students who practice sports have “favourable” mental health in comparison to students who are inactive and don’t practice sports. 

When comparing sports from prior to the pandemic to now, there are many notable differences to be mentioned. Mr. Winter, an elementary P.E. teacher and High School Girls Volleyball Coach has noticed that “The skills and health components of physical education aren’t as strong due to lack of opportunity to train and practice during quarantine.” Students have shown a lower endurance and motivation regarding sports, due to the fact that many haven’t played or practiced in over a year. Students have also observed various differences since the resuming of sports. As stated by Renata Bonesana, a senior at GAA, “Though now we have restrictions such as wearing masks and social distancing, I’ve noticed that more people than ever are joining sports. The pandemic has led people to realize how much of an impact sports play on their lives and health.” Negative changes have also been observed. “Before the pandemic, there was more school spirit surrounding sports. We would have games that people could come and watch, but now there isn’t much of a value placed on sports by those who aren’t involved in them anymore.” states Eje. It is clear that it will still take time for sports to go back to the way they were prior to the pandemic or reach a state of normalcy, but slowly changes are being made within the students themselves and the community. 

Optimism is what leads our students and faculty to have a stronger self esteem and motivation to look forward to the future. Despite any restrictions, students have shown to be even more excited for the sports seasons to come. “I’m looking forward to forming new friendships and bonds with people through sports, but also the competitive aspect and playing the sports that I love the most this year.” Imanol de la Flor, a new student at GAA. 

The fact that sports have been put on a pause for two years has only motivated student-athletes to join and made them more excited for the return of them.