Club Sports Teams Return to Practice With New Protocols

With Colgate firmly in Gate 3 of Covid-19 protocols, it has been announced that club sports will be starting up again on campus. The decision to resume club athletics was made by the Return to Athletics and Recreation Working Group, which is composed of coaches and representatives from the Department of Recreation, Sports Medicine, Facilities, Student Health Services and the Counseling Center. 

During this pandemic, which can be an isolating and lonely experience for so many, it has become increasingly clear that opportunities to connect with other people are as important as ever, and ways to maintain and improve physical and emotional health are equally critical,” said Katie Kammerdiener, Colgate Director of Recreation and Physical Education.

Club sports this semester will look very different in order to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  The biggest change will be no traveling or games for any of the teams, and the athletes who attend each practice will be recorded in case contact tracing is necessary.  Additionally, there will be group size limits at each practice, and each participant will need to wear a mask at all times.  Kammerdiener notes that one of the obstacles her team faced was making sure practices for club sports could adhere to the Gates of Reopening instituted by the university.  As a result, teams that practice outdoors could gather in groups of twenty or fewer with a faculty member present during Gate 2, while teams that practice indoors had to wait until Gate 3.  Both for outdoor and indoor practices in Gate 3, there is a maximum of 25 participants per event. 

One priority we identified from the very early conversations was the need to make sure our decisions were aligned with all of the measures being taken campus-wide; our return to activity process was integrated with the campus Gates of Reopening,” Kammerdiener said. “We acknowledged that with all of the changes that were necessary on campus this fall, the experience would be very different from a traditional Colgate semester, so our hope was to identify safe ways for some version of normal activity to resume, so students can be together and engage in healthy activity.”

Gail Greene ‘22, one of the captains of the women’s club ice hockey team, is excited to get back on the ice with her team, which is slated to practice starting in November.  However, she is definitely conscious of how the lack of games this season will affect the team dynamic.

“At games, everyone is super excited for everybody who is there no matter your skill level, most of the teams we play also have varying skill levels and the games have a great energy because both teams are just there to have fun,” said Greene.  “We usually have games almost every Sunday during our season. Our team has not stayed very well connected as a majority of our communication happens on Groupme or in-person at practices or games.”

Despite all of the limitations and obstacles caused by the pandemic, Kammerdiener and her team felt that it was extremely important to get club sports back up and running this semester.  With so much on campus being different due to the pandemic, the return of club sports will be another way for the community aspect of life on campus this semester to regain at least some type of normalcy.  Kammerdiener believes that the community aspect of club sports is especially necessary in times like these.

“Club sports are an important part of many students’ experiences at Colgate, and getting involved in a community built around shared interest can be a pretty powerful source of social and emotional connection. Sports and recreation are a great way for students and everyone to engage in healthy activity – it’s good for our bodies and our minds.”