In an effort to raise morale and connect with their athletes, Humber Athletics is hosting a two week long Family Feud tournament.

Athletes and coaches from all varsity teams at Humber were asked to put together a team of five players to face off until the championship on Feb 4. Players will be asked to name the most popular answers to questions in order to collect points. The tournament is being held on Zoom and is open to spectators from other varsity teams to join the call.

Humber Athletics at the Humber North Campus has been an empty place because of COVID-19 restrictions that shut down the sports season. Student athletes across the province have been at home, online, waiting for the news that they are able to return to their sports.

Varsity Coordinator Eric Savage said staff at Humber Athletics created a committee in response to the cancellations. Headed by Women’s Basketball coach Ajay Sharma, the committee plans virtual events over Zoom so athletes, coaches, and staff can connect. Savage is part of the committee and helped to organize the Family Feud tournament, the second event hosted by Humber Athletics.

“These events are really just our Humber way of always staying connected,” said Savage. The staff at Humber are not planning on taking an off year and want to continue planning fun activities throughout the year.

Tournaments and other virtual events hosted by Humber Athletics have been important in maintaining connections among the staff and athletes at Humber Athletics.

“I think it is very important for mental health, I think it’s very important for athletes to see their friends. I know some of our teams that have new recruits or veterans haven’t even met the new recruits because there hasn’t been a time where we’ve all got together,” said Savage.

Quinn Walsh, a fifth year student in the Humber postgraduate program for entrepreneurial enterprise and member of the Varsity Curling team, played in a Family Feud match over Zoom on Jan 21.

“I think from an athlete’s perspective it’s really important because your teammates start to become your family and I know personally for me, I was like ‘Ah this is where I belong’,” said Walsh. The Family Feud tournament filled a void created by the pandemic, added Walsh “It’s really hard because being at home is the right thing to do but it’s not an easy thing to do.”

On Jan 21 the Varsity Women’s Volleyball team faced off against the Varsity Curling team in their game of virtual Family Feud and came away with the win. The second match of the evening was between the Varsity Men’s Volleyball team and the Humber Athletic Therapy staff and the High Performance Centre staff. The Athletic Therapy and High Performance staff members won the game.

Karlee Mannella, a member of the Women’s Volleyball team, and third year early childhood studies student spoke about her experience playing in the Family Feud tournament.

“Actually communicating with people, it makes you happy,” said Mannella. “I think I laughed the most yesterday than I have the last seven months of this whole COVID experience,” said Mannella.

Hayley Henderson a third year travel management student and a member of the Women’s Volleyball team also played in the match.

“It’s just a fun little competition and it’s keeping us involved because we’re stuck at home and not being able to do anything,” said Henderson. Playing with other athletes not on the volleyball team was also nice added Henderson.

The OCAA announced the fall and winter seasons were cancelled on Oct 15. Teams were also not allowed to access the facilities at Humber due to the safety restrictions.

The cancellation of the season has had an impact on all of the staff and athletes.

“You see the light at the end of the tunnel but you just don’t know what’s ahead and you try to stay positive and I think that’s one thing that we’ve tried our best,” said Savage. “If athletes are asking any questions, we are trying to give them the best answers we can, but we can’t give them the answer that they want.”

The staff at Humber Athletics has planned to continue hosting virtual events for its athletes for the remainder of the year. Plans for in-person events are also being discussed as the recent vaccination roll-out has provided hope that the athletic season will return in fall 2021.