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Assignment 5 – Interview

Interview with TRU Soccer player Callum Etches. Who talks about quarantine, dealing with the dilemma of his athletic season being cancelled and how it has affected him mentally and physically.

Print Assignment

‘Canada West announced Monday that no conference competition (regular season, playoff, or championships) will occur”. 8 One statement has gone on to change lives across Canada. Student-athletes face an uncertain future due to the coronavirus pandemic with the fall season cancelled and later seasons’ and training sessions set to take place in unknown circumstances. 

In Kamloops, student-athletes play for the TRU Wolfpack across seven varsity teams, many of them are international athletes who will have to quarantine upon their return to Canada before the academic year starts in September. As a result, COVID-19 could stop athletes from fulfilling their full athletic and academic potential and it might stop some international athletes from coming back to Canada.  See interview from TRU athlete Callum Etches who had to come back to Canada from the UK.

Back in June, Canada West announced that university competitions, including the regular season, playoff or championships, will not be taking place. At the time, speaking to Radio NL, TRU’s Athletic Director Curtis Atkinson called the decision a “gut punch”. He continued “in our world, even though we could see where it was tracking, and knew it didn’t look good, you kind of hold out that hope” 1 . 

This was something I could relate to as I am a third-year men’s soccer player and when I heard the news, although I fully expected it, I was devastated. I have just returned from a severe knee injury and felt the upcoming season was going to be one of the best yet. This is because for those of us in our final year now is the time to impress scouts in the Canadian Premier League, who are looking for new players. I also had to quarantine and have known several other international athletes who have had to do this. It is not an enjoyable experience to have to spend two weeks back in Canada on your own away from your teammates. 

Closed for good? (Image – Harry Coles 2020)

The university has suspended all events with over 250 people expected to attend, 2 and the thought of the Hillside stadium, which can hold 1080 fans, being empty for future games is a very sad image. 

Our usual pre-season summer training camps were also cancelled as the university placed a ban on all non-essential university-sponsored travel outside of Canada. 3  In previous years, trips to Los Angeles and Portland have been a great bonding experience for the team and have helped us to feel physically and mentally ready to tackle the new season. 

Social distancing is the answer (Image – Harry Coles 2020)

But it is not all doom and gloom for student-athletes. Student-athletes will not lose a year of eligibility and they will remain eligible for athletic scholarships. 4 And according to official figures, coronavirus cases in British Columbia are falling again after a small peak. As of August 8, there were 320 cases, which is a dramatic drop from 2,760 on May 3. All these factors make me and other athletes positive about the future. 6

In a recent interview, men’s soccer head coach John Antulov said now was not the time for the team to become lazy. Speaking to CFJC Today, he said “We can’t really take a step back. We have to continue. If we just put it in pause it’s going to set us back.” 7 I feel like this attitude is being taken on by the whole team as we look to future seasons and training. 

We are currently living in uncertain times and no one is sure exactly what the future will bring. This applies to all parts of life and as an athlete, a huge part of this is our sporting lives. But if sport teaches us one thing, it’s to keep working hard and stay positive. 

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