Olivier Simon is among the Stingers athletes who changed his university plans for 2020–21 because of COVID-19
When Concordia University announced its closure from March 16 to 30, 2020 as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 in Quebec, we were far from where we are today.
We’ve known since Sept. 14 that university football and rugby won’t have a season this year. As other winter and indoor sports are still waiting for their fate with a Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec’s (RSEQ) announcement expected Oct. 15, athletes have been training and preparing for an uncertain 2020–21 season.
With COVID-19 cases steadily increasing, and with the fall semester proceeding online, some Concordia Stingers players have changed their plans for the upcoming school year.
Olivier Simon of the men’s basketball team is one of them. Simon, one of the team’s few fifth-year players for 2020–21, was accepted in a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, and decided to complete just two courses per semester for fall and winter.
“We need to be full-time students to play with the Stingers,” Simon said. “I’ll therefore be full-time for the 2021–22 school year, and will be eligible to play my last season next year. I thought it was the best decision I could [make], and still think it is.”
Simon described his choice to take fewer courses now in order to possibly play later as difficult.
“It’s a big decision because I don’t want to end my career with perhaps a half-season and no tournaments,” Simon said. “Yet, it’s also a tough one, as we don’t know what the future is going to be like right now.”
It took time before the Stingers teams could start training together again in person. Simon said it’s been rough these past few months not knowing if and when they would be able to go back to the gym as a team. He said the team has been training in many places recently, without necessarily knowing what would happen with their season.
“We had workouts with our coach on Zoom throughout the [quarantine],” Simon said. “We’ve been training at the Stinger Dome for two weeks, and had the court of a high school in Saint-Laurent for about a month.”
Despite some return to normality, Simon said it’s been rough to train and keep the motivation high.
“It was difficult at first, especially not knowing when we could play again, or simply just be in the gym,” Simon said. “We now understand better that we can’t do much about it, and don’t have control over [what’s going to happen].”
Photo by @cmarsh.photos