By RYAN MCCRACKEN on July 30, 2020.
The Medicine Hat Sport and Event Council is reaching out to Medicine Hat’s athletes and their families to help determine the best course of action for returning to play across the city.
Sport and Event co-ordinator Kara Brake says the council has already seen plenty of feedback through its online survey for athletes and parents, and the common thread is that everyone is excited to get back into the game.
“One of the things that we’re seeing is that a lot of people are anxious to get back in. We’re seeing that the mental benefit of having sports is really good for students and athletes,” said Brake. “What we wanted to take a look at is how families and athletes are being affected through this pandemic. We did one previously a couple months ago with the sport organizations and got an idea of how our organizations are being affected, and then we wanted to get an idea of how the actual participants and families are being affected by it.”
Brake says the survey was developed in partnership with sport and event councils across Alberta, and has already been circulated in Calgary and Lethbridge with the goal of providing the provincial government with a look into how sports organizations and athletes are responding to the pandemic.
“As sport councils, we don’t get to make the decisions of when restrictions are lifted or what restrictions are lifted. But different sport councils across the province are doing this, so our plan is to then take all our responses, put it together and send it out to the provincial government so they know where things are at right now with sports, physical activity and active recreation,” said Brake. “We’ll also be sharing the result with our organization so they can know, ‘Hey, athletes are comfortable with this but not this,’ and then hopefully what that will do is help our local organizations find a way to pivot a little bit to still be able to operate, but in a different capacity.
“We’ve actually had a lot of results so far. It’s really nice to see that people are participating in it.”
Brake added that 97 per cent of kids involved in the survey have listed spending time with friends as one of the things they miss most as a result of the massive changes brought on by the pandemic. But there are some positives, says Brake, like a boost in family time.
“We’ve seen that family time has definitely increased, 77 per cent of people have said that during the pandemic they’ve been active with their family and friends,” she said. “We’ve seen that family dinners have increased. So, there are definitely some positives to it as well, but the one thing we are seeing is that people are just anxious to get back to sport. That’s kind of the biggest thing right now.”
Brake says she’s proud of how resilient Medicine Hat’s sports community has been in rolling with the challenges presented by this pandemic, and with any luck they’ll all back up and running again before too long.
“We’re really happy and impressed with how our organizations – whether that be sport, cultural or community – have really adapted to this and stayed flexible, and really have survived through this,” she said. “We know that a lot of stress has been put on our organizations, but we’re really happy to see that our organizations are withstanding that and working hard to persist.”
The survey, which takes around seven minutes to complete, can be found at https://mailchi.mp/e4e216813df4/covid-19-resources-athleteparent-survey.
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