20201005 Coop Ball - CBuckley

Coop Ball is an innovative new game that the RFC developed to still give students the opportunity to compete using skills from their favorite sports. 

As Washington moves through its reopening plan, the Rudolf Fitness Center is slowly being able to add more activities to its programs. As of Feb. 14, Spokane is officially in Phase 2 of the Roadmap to Recovery Plan.

What does this mean for the RFC? Intramurals and in-person fitness classes are back. 

Due to the pandemic, the RFC closed its doors on March 17, 2020 and did not reopen until the fall. 

José Hernández, director of the RFC, is excited about the direction the RFC is headed in. While the RFC was open for the fall semester, it had to close again on Nov. 21, 2020 due to the regression back into Phase 1. 

“The difference is that this semester we started at Phase 1 and it was extremely limited,” Hernández said. “We had no access to be able to offer our students intramurals or fitness classes.”

Starting at Phase 1 meant no intramural sports, extremely limited workout options, and no in-person fitness classes. As per Phase 2 regulations, they are now permitted to allow more workout equipment and in-person sports, but with restrictions. The pool was also reopened earlier this semester. 

“We are going to maintain the state, federal and local guidelines to ensure that we are doing whatever it takes to be safe,” Hernández said. 

Shelly Radtke, associate director of the RFC and head of intramural sports, has arranged protocols that align with the restrictions in place by Governor Jay Inslee. 

“With Phase 2, we’re actually permitted to allow in-person, but again, still restricted. That’s why we’re only currently offering singles ping pong and doubles pickleball,” Radtke said. 

Singles ping pong and singles/doubles pickleball allows players to follow social distance protocol and remain masked up. Currently, you do not need to be in the same household unit as your doubles partner to play together. 

Games are also more flexible than before. While the gym used to utilize a strict late policy, time is now given to ensure players are being safe, equipment is being sanitized and the protocol is being followed. 

“Typically we follow the motto ‘game time is forfeit time’ because we want people to be early, but these days you can’t really do that,” Radtke said. 

Protocol for these games is similar to those for using the workout equipment. A green check on the Zagcheck app is required before entering. Equipment is sanitized in between every game and players cannot enter and exit the game room. Hand sanitizer is also available at all times and required before entering the gym. 

Only six players are allowed in the large studio, which means no spectators. While this may make the games less exciting, the RFC has to prioritize and is dedicated to keeping the gym safe. 

“We do not want to jeopardize all of the hard work we have done,” Hernández said. “We’re going the extra mile so we can ensure from our part that we are doing whatever it takes to be safe.”

As for the rest of the semester, there are plans to add more intramurals as the state moves through the recovery plan. Once permission from the state is granted, there are plans for outdoor, non-contact sports to begin again. 

The two intramurals Radtke has planned are kickball and small-sided 3v3 soccer. Kickball is naturally socially distant, but no-contact rules and other precautions would be utilized to ensure the sport is pandemic safe. 

“It would be taking indoor soccer outside,” Radtke explained. 

Therefore, the small-sided 3v3 soccer game would be modified to be played like an indoor soccer game. The game would be played with no hands, all kick-ins (no throw-ins), less touch points, masks, hand sanitizer required and the same cleaning precautions taken for ping pong and pickleball. 

“Safety is our number one priority throughout all of this,” Radtke said. 

Slowly but surely, the RFC is being able to add more sports. But even though we are in a pandemic, there are still intramural sports available to be played. 

“Participate! We want you to participate in it because that’s the best way to learn and be a part of campus,” Hernández said. 

Sydney Fluker is a staff writer.

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