On June 8, it was confirmed by Canada West and U Sports that all fall term team sport tournaments would be cancelled due to the ongoing global pandemic.
Football is one of the numerous sports at UBC affected by this decision. Because of the cancellations, former defensive back James Vause is considering leaving the team.
“I felt pretty weird about it because I knew it was a possibility, but you never think it’s actually going to go through … when it happened, it just kind of hits you all at once, emotionally,” said Vause.
“Football’s been around for so many years and it’s gone through many things, and it’s something that you just expect to happen every fall and you look forward to it,” he added.
However, with cancellations becoming more common amid the pandemic, Vause wasn’t entirely surprised by the decision.
“I thought maybe there would be a way to work around it, but I support their decision,” he said.
Despite the tournament cancelations, the team is consistently in touch with each other and continue to train independently.
“Immediately after [the cancellation was announced], there was a meeting we had as a team,” Vause told The Ubyssey. “Our coach just told us that it’s gonna be a battle-ridden [year] and to make sure we’re checking in on each other.
“We still have the resources in place that we can use, even though the seasons [are] not on. There’s counselling resources, we still have our strength coach … and therapists to help us out with whatever we need. So there’s still a solid support system in place.”
In addition to having a strong support system, the team is also committed to maintaining a strong training schedule.
“We have a really good strength and conditioning coach and he’s really committed to our success as individuals and players,” said Vause.
He also added that the team’s goal of winning the next national championship remains, which has heavily influenced the training schedule, even if it might “look different for a lot of people.”
Vause pointed out that “typically, [players] can’t take a full course [load] and play football at the same time.” However, with the season cancelled, some students will have the option to take more courses than they normally do.
Besides being at home, Vause mentioned the biggest change he’s made due to the cancellations has been focusing more on his studies.
“It’s allowed me to be more career directed. I was planning on having this as my last season and then sort of focusing on finishing up my degree, getting started on my career, but now I can get a head start on that,” he said.
Vause hopes that the next season will have a larger community turnout at the games.
“I just hope that the community will rally around all athletes in all sports that were cancelled and support in a bigger fashion than they ever have next year. Players love playing the game but they love when there’s fans there to watch as well.”