While COVID-19 has significantly impacted how activities take place on campus, Tuesday’s Club Sports Fair demonstrated that students can still find a good time with club sports.
Recent concerns over the global pandemic forced the Fall Club Fair indoors and over Zoom. Once at the online fair, students could visit each club’s “booth.” These booths were managed by club officers, each greeting students who joined their Zoom calls with a smile. From there, students could ask the panel of officers questions regarding club activities, competitions and atmosphere.
“Of course, with COVID-19, everything’s up in the air,” said Maya Gutierrez, one of GU dance team’s captains.
Many clubs such as the dance team find themselves with stricter guidelines on where and how they can perform due to concerns over contact between teammates, objects and surfaces. For some, that means that this season may be all about practice.
“We’re still waiting on some protocols [to be announced],” said Emilio Vargas, president of GU club baseball. “From what we’ve planned out so far, we’re probably gonna do. . . small group practices when we can.”
“We can’t do in-person meetings,” said Jedi Biswas-Diener, team manager of GU climbing club. “So essentially what we have this semester is. . . a training log that each person follows individually and logs their workouts online.”
Even teams that are allowed to continue as normal have to follow COVID-19 procedures to some extent.
“For larger groups, [GU] might want us to [wear masks],” said Francesca Forero, co-president of GU bike club.
Travel is another area hit by the pandemic. Following GU COVID-19 protocols, if teams are able to travel at some point this semester, it will be less frequently than in past seasons.
“We totally don’t know what’s going to happen with the situation,” said Abby Dodd, freeride club’s trips coordinator. “But we’re definitely going to be flexible and adjust [in order to] make it fun.”
COVID-19 protocols also make tryouts harder for some sports than others. Sports that involve less contact with other members, surfaces or objects may still hold tryouts this semester, such as the dance team. Groups like climbing club, however, find themselves needing to change the tryout process.
“Usually we would hold tryouts,” Biswas-Diener said. “But due to COVID-19 we’re dropping some of our requirements."
In order to accommodate for the lack of physical socialization, some clubs are focusing on fun rather than competition.
For example, the dance team is open to students from any dance background, whether that be drill, high school dance teams or color guard.
“I think that my favorite part, at least, of club tennis has been just what a great mix it is between competitive, serious play and a fun team environment,” said Alex Collie, vice president of GU club tennis. “We play three times a week... we get to know each other... and we end up playing some really good, serious play...[but] there’s also no restriction, there’s no burden, really.”
In addition to their openness, GU clubs are also taking the time to build up a friendly atmosphere. Climbing club, for example, is seeking to build a sense of family within its members this semester.
“We have a GroupMe where we can all send each other memes,” Biswas-Diener said. “That takes care of the social side of keeping us together as a team.”
With 17 clubs all offering their own opportunities to participate in fun, fulfilling sports, GU students should know that they have many options when it comes to club sports at Gonzaga.