Friday, November 27, 2020

Calgary universities look to be creative in determining sports future


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“We could manage that and keep the safety at a high level and still be able to compete,” Vanhooren said. “I think that would be a reasonable compromise given the situation.

“Any kind of creative thinking and not being stuck in what we always do sort of opens the box,” Vanhooren continued. “We’re being forced to do that in order to give the kids the right experiences that we’d like them to have. I’m looking forward to those changes and be a part of developing them.”

Then there’s the possibility of pushing whatever competition arises from the pandemic’s challenges into the future.

Think soccer with its teams from different domestic leagues coming together to play for a national championship on an annual basis.

“Right now, we’re looking at an Alberta league possibility, and I think we can make that fun and work at it,” said Vanhooren, a former standout with the University of Alberta Golden Bears basketball program. “Maybe we can build our product in a different way.

“There’s also athletes who are more available now because they’re not travelling out of our country to go play elsewhere, so some of our rosters can maybe be bolstered with higher levels of talent and improve the product.”

Indeed, there are positive alternatives, say officials, if you search them out and embrace them.

“It’s a sense of loss,” said Karch of the decision to cancel the sports seasons. “We’ve all lost something, and when you lose something, you need time to heal. We took a decision and made it for them, and whether that’s right or wrong, whether that’s fair or not, what now can we do to provide an environment that allows them to grieve, respects their grieving process and then says here’s some other choices now that can help in that journey?

“This COVID is horrible, and it’s changed us all, so how can we learn from this and grow?” added Karch, a former basketball star who competed for Canada in both the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics. “What is it look like in six months? In eight months? For Fall 2021? This gives us a time to look at what it really could be.

“Life isn’t fair, but there’s a lot of things on the table.”

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