RRC’s decision to cancel Rebels’ 2020 season leaves athletes nostalgic and disappointed

By: Emily Chandler

Sports and athletics have slowly made their way back into our life, after a long hiatus.

Although broadcasted professional sports like the NHL and NFL are returning to television, COVID-19 has forced many universities and colleges to cancel athletic programs. 

On June 4, 2020, Red River College released a statement about the cancellation of the upcoming varsity sports seasons. 

Former Athletics and Recreation Services manager Shane Ray writes, “The focus [is] dedicated to essential hands-on learning and training activities to allow students to complete their studies.”

With RRC’s main focus on school programs, the college decision to cancel the 2020-2021 athletic season has left some students feeling discouraged.

Rebel athlete, Sara Meisner, 22, says she had her eye on redemption on the court this year and looked forward to the camaraderie the team provides during the school year.

“Overall, it really sucks,” Meisner says. “It’s taken away a huge part of the college experience.”

Other Manitoba universities made the same call to halt sports seasons.

Colby Kyliuk, a receiver for the Manitoba Bisons football team, says the decision hasn’t been easy to adjust to.

“I would be going into my fifth year,” the 22-year-old says. “It’s been tough keeping motivation and you really have to find what pushes you.”

Kyliuk says the cancellation of the season has been tough for his team. However, the Bisons have still been practicing two to three times a week to keep their technique and skills, despite the lack of competition through games.

“After seeing all that was affected by this virus, I realized this [decision] was bigger than football,” said Kyliuk.

Every university and college has managed to execute a different approach when considering the well-being and eligibility of their athletes during the pandemic.

Conor Llyod, the director of college and public relations at RRC, reiterates the school’s message.

“This decision was made in the interest of the health and safety of our students,” says the 38-year-old. “A decision regarding the 2021 season will be made in the new year.”

Although student athletes are curious if they will see the courts or fields this year at all, the action of cancelling sports programs correlates with the current state of Manitoba during the COVID-19 pandemic.