Until organized sports are back in action, Sooke coaches and athletes are striving to keep things in motion.
The coronavirus pandemic has left multiple sport seasons in jeopardy, with hockey season cut short, gyms closed, and soccer and fastball postponed, but coaches are trying to keep their kids active from home.
“We have been doing a lot of bike riding,” said Nick Szadkowski, vice-president of Sooke Minor Hockey. “This feels very unusual for us, as we normally are going to sports all year long.”
Szadkowski has three kids at home and says each year once the hockey season finishes, his daughter transitions into fastball, and his two sons begin lacrosse. Both seasons have been affected.
“I am a little concerned, of course. Particularly that this will carry on into the hockey season,” said Szadkowski. “We have already kind of accepted that fastball and lacrosse will likely not be happening.”
Szadkowski hopes the regular hockey season will pick up as usual the first week of September, but said the decision will be mandated by Hockey Canada.
“I definitely enjoy this little bit of down time, I just hope it’s not for too long,” said Szadkowski, adding he is fortunate to have some property for the kids to get out and explore. “We just brought a new puppy home too so that is keeping them busy.”
Justin Wilson, coach of the U16 Sooke Sliders B fastball team, has two kids at home who have been staying active the last couple of months. Wilson’s daughter, Shelby, plays fastball and soccer, and son, Max, plays fastball and hockey.
Normally, Wilson’s family would be spending a lot of time at the ball diamond this time of year, but the pandemic has caused things to look a little bit different for them.
“The kids are still doing school work from home, and with the weather getting better, we get out and do lots of hikes or go biking. It’s important for kids and adults to remain active somehow. In our family, we are lucky to be home a fair bit and keep kids occupied and away from screen time,” said Wilson.
“They have been playing a little bit of catch, practicing fastball at home, but they are just as happy to pick up a basketball or soccer ball, or play road hockey. The options are endless with a driveway and a big bin of sports equipment.”
Wilson has tried to keep a “glass half-full” outlook during the pandemic, noting he is enjoying the extra moments at home with his family.
Sooke boxing coach Ellen Connor closed the Sooke Boxing Club’s doors due to the pandemic, but hopes to reopen in June.
Connor has three kids, two of which are old enough to participate in organized sports. Her son Connor plays ball hockey in the summer and ice hockey in the winter, and her daughter Jill boxes year-round.
“It was a bit of a shock and a routine change in the beginning,” said Connor. “We are so busy as a family, always at the boxing club, and are so sport-minded. So it was definitely weird going from moving at 160 miles per hour, down to 20.”
Connor said living in East Sooke has allowed her and her kids to do a lot of outdoor exploring, and every day they go together on a five kilometre run.
“Jill has hung a heavy bag from a tree and continues to train that way,” said Connor. “It’s just different, but I believe it’s a challenge to change our perspectives, and still make things happen.”
She noted that this situation won’t last forever, so she is happy to take a pause and slow down for a while. However, this pause doesn’t mean Connor and the kids are pausing from physical activity.
“When you sweat, or work out, endorphin’s are released and people need that to feel good. Getting outside and moving is so important, and I think for people who maybe thought they didn’t have time for it in their lives before, can have that time now,” said Connor.
“Yes the pandemic is awful, but I think a lot of good things can come from this. A worldwide pause, to stop and smell the roses, appreciate what we have, and make ourselves busy in a healthier way.”