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Back in action: King's students reflect on their return to the game

After the 2019/20 season was cut short, and the 2020/21 season cancelled altogether, returning to competitive play has been an amazing experience for King’s student athletes. Rookies from last season are getting to play for the first time while athletes nearing the end of their time at King’s are benefiting from an extra year of eligibility. A few of the Eagles spoke about what a year without sports taught them and how it feels to be back in action.

"We did a lot of one-on-one with our coaches, which at the time was pretty difficult because you want to be on a team where you’re learning from other people. I learned not to take sports for granted—including the time and the hard work we put into them. So although it was so hard, and at times it was frustrating and stressful, it goes back to why we do it. It’s because we love it and because people are seeing us representing King’s. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about playing at home. The atmosphere that the fans provide and also how you can see our team coming together and really embracing all the adversity we’ve faced in the last year. It goes to show that when you don’t give up, you can push through anything."

Kristyn Shannon
Women’s Volleyball
5th Year at King’s (4th year of Eligibility)


"We had to pivot a lot last year. There was a lot of on-the-fly stuff, but this year is more structured so it’s a lot easier for us to get into a really good rhythm. We were able to stay motivated last year because we understood that this would only be temporary and I think this experience taught me to be ready for any circumstance. To play at home now really means something."

Chris Rooker
Men’s Volleyball
2nd Year at King’s (1st year of Eligibility)


"I would say the word for this season is resilience. We had to accept some facts that we couldn’t change and work with the situation, not against it. Either we play like this or we don’t get to play at all. Usually we have 12 games. This year we had six. But part of who you are as an athlete is what you’re doing with your sport. I feel that all the athletes have this sense of ‘when I’m playing, this is who I am.’"

Lucas Alves
Men’s Soccer
3rd Year at King’s (2nd year of Eligibility)

 
"It was great to get to play this year. I missed it so much. But it was still disappointing that we didn’t get a full season. COVID hit the end of the 2020 season so we missed provincials. We all tried to text and Facetime as a team, but it wasn’t  the same. So this year we made accountability groups with a senior player and two rookies and have been checking in with each other more. I’ve been trying to be more supportive of my teammates."

Isabelle King
Women’s Soccer
3rd Year at King’s (2nd year of Eligibility)

 
"The best thing about this season is being able to compete with the group. During COVID it was a lot of one-on-one, and being by yourself. We weren’t able to be with other people and compete and get that team aspect. Everyone is now really eager to get going. It’s the feeling of okay, we’ve had two years off, and now we’re all excited to get back and play games. You can feel that everyone’s missed the sport. It’s the emotional aspect. I think this year is about building a new culture of teamwork. A winning culture where everyone shows up each day willing to do the most they can so that we grow little by little until we get to where we want to go."

Emmanuel Odera
Men’s Basketball
1st Year at King’s (1st Year of Eligibility)


"Last year I found that it was really hard to continue to push through and go to practices because we didn’t have any games, so it was difficult to see the end goal. Now that we’re back it’s a lot easier. Being able to come back and play has really made me appreciate that I go to practice because I love basketball! I’m definitely appreciating my teammates, especially with me coming back from a concussion. They’re so understanding even when I’m so hard on myself. All of us have goals to reach and we accomplish them as a team. When one person falls we run back to help them get up."

Makayla Attfield
Women’s Basketball
2nd Year at King’s (1st year of Eligibility)

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