March 13 marks the one-year anniversary since Humber College went into COVID-19 lockdown. Education moved online this time last year and varsity sports was shut down.
That meant no basketball, no volleyball, no baseball, no softball, no curling, no badminton, no track and field, no golf, no rugby, and no soccer, outdoors or indoors. Humber has a large contingent of varsity sports athletes and one of the best post-secondary sports programs in the country.
Extracurricular sports were also shut down when schooling went online last March.
Varsity teams saw their season’s end, also calling into question the potential for their following season. It was a tough pill to swallow for Humber athletes, who saw at least a year of their sports career slip away.
Humber has won more provincial championships than any other Ontario college, 310 since 1967. Teams have also won 53 national championships, 38 of them since 2006.
This year without sports, however, didn’t see varsity athletes spend time on the couch and dropping their sport because of COVID-19. The virus just changed how athletes trained, just like students changed the way they studied.
“The team gives us a workout builder, a new workout every day,” said Noah Strong, a Media Communications student and a lock with Humber men’s varsity rugby team.
The varsity teams established workout programs and other training exercises for their players, who are expected to return close to game ready for a potential 2021-22 season.
“Our coaches have done zoom sessions and given us challenges,” said Courtney Nadeau, a goalie for the women’s varsity soccer team.
With no access to practice facilities, the coaches and training staff showed creativity during the past year.
“We are hoping we have a season next year, but we were pretty bummed out last year that we couldn’t play,” said Strong, explaining how he and the team felt when the news came that there wouldn’t be a season this year.
Come fall the team is hopeful that they will be back on the field, he said.
One of the biggest setbacks for some players was losing their last year of eligibility.
“Some players extended to a fifth year to keep their eligibility,” Nadeau said. But not all took that route, and those who are graduating lost their chance to play because of COVID-19
Losing the season has been difficult for Humber Hawks players no matter the sport. But they all share one common wish, that there will be a season in the fall. Although it is still too soon to tell whether that wish will come to fruition, the Hawks are preparing to be ready to step out on their respective playing surfaces when the time comes.