U of R sporting frustration
Lack of campus sports brings unease.
With the academic semester hitting its stride many athletes should be hitting their stride in their respected seasons. However, this is not the case for these hardworking students this season. With seasons being cancelled many athletes are left sitting on the sidelines longing for their return. But what about their fans? Several students used these events as ways to connect and get involved with their university community, as a break from the endless hours of studying and as a way to become inspired to join recreational leagues in their spare time. With fans being forced to stay home and watch replays of old season highlights it is time we turn to them to hear their seasonless blues.
It is important to understand the impact that university teams can have on the student community atmosphere. Many students know these athletes personally through courses they are taking or other mutual activities. The ability to support someone you know who is doing something they are passionate about that you already enjoy fosters a strong feeling of togetherness and assists in strengthening communal relationships. For those who do not know any of the athletes it is still used as a great opportunity to go do something – that is not studying – with your friends. No matter the reason that brings you into the stands, fans demonstrate a high level of pride they have for their Cougars and Rams teams. They believe that they will perform well and provide them with something to become excited about, like their inevitable victory. This feeling of togetherness cannot be found in old highlight reels and stories from the good old days. This is something that is a here and now experience that the fans are missing out on. From facepaint to tailgate parties and everything in between our fans are missing out on an opportunity to grow and celebrate their community connections.
When asked what about these seasons cancellations are hitting them the hardest, many students responded with the increased feelings of isolation they are causing. As everything else is online, students are already having a hard time connecting to one another. These events promoted socialization for fans which has now been taken away. Many students used these events as a way to maintain connections with current friends and to meet people with similar interests. With that opportunity being severed at the same time as so many other social opportunities, it is hitting fans in a very impactful way.
Others, like third-year student Victoria Baht, mentioned that it is the feeling of unease and lack of safety that looms in the distant future, with the talk of when seasons may resume play being the most concerning. Although there is nothing confirmed about when seasons may resume, many students feel the same concerns as Baht. There are high levels of uncertainty about how the safety precautions may look moving forward and high hopes that we can feel as safe as we once did at these events. Even though all fans want to be back in the stands as soon as possible, they would rather wait and ensure that effective precautions are in place to ensure maximum levels of safety.
Many eager fans are hopeful that enough action will take place in time for a winter season to start up. The idea of precautions being put in place for both players and fans is something that is on the forefront of everyone’s minds as a desperate attempt to get people back in the stands. Those hopeful for this to happen have accepted that masks will be required for those who choose to attend games. Fans are also aware of the likelihood that seats would have to be reserved ahead of time to ensure that social distancing can happen between groups of fans. But what do we do about the players? There are some, like Baht, who have stated that keeping within the same province would be the best course of action for the time being. Even though this solution may not bring forth a regular season, fans are itching to get back to their seats even to witness a friendly scrimmage take place.
With many things to consider, the University of Regina is doing everything they can to ensure the safety of everyone who may attend these future events. In the meantime fans are forced to sit and wait until final decisions have been made. Never fear, your athletes will be back before you even know it. Until then replace your old foam finger, work on your face paint skills and update those signs for next season.