Loyola club sports continue to practice despite COVID-19 restrictions

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The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged Loyola’s clubs to find creative ways to carry out their meetings. Some clubs have been able to easily move activities online through Zoom calls; however, clubs defined by their sports-related activities have found it more difficult to organize meetings with their members. 

The clubs at Loyola have given many students the opportunity to do activities they enjoy and meet new people that share their interests. The various sports-related clubs of Loyola have connected members through the common love for sports, teamwork and competition. The activities may have been sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but plans for the future are still being formed. 

The Bodysurfing Club at Loyola plans to begin activities soon and is planning to operate at an even higher level compared to previous years. The club members will meet at preselected beaches and will adhere to safety precautions by maintaining a six feet distance from one another on land and in the water as well as wearing snorkel masks. 

Junior Dillon Klein, president of the Bodysurfing Club, said, “The main goal for reopening the club is to give everyone a chance to see each other and get some ‘gnarly barrels.’ Mr. Schaeffer and I have been working closely together to get the meetings to happen in order to assure maximum safety.”

The Disc Golf Club has created a way to incorporate online meetings via Zoom by watching films of professional disc golf players as well as teaching basic disc golf rules to its newer members. In the coming weeks, they are planning to meet in small groups to play disc golf together while adhering to safety guidelines.

Junior Mark Valenzuela, a member of the Disc Golf Club, says, “It is a really fun experience and gets super competitive.”

On the contrary, the Loyola Cycling Team has not yet begun team activities, but will begin pre-season preparations the week of Oct. 18., with practices starting on Dec. 1. Practices will divide the twenty club members into squads of ten people with eight student riders and two coaches. The organization of the squads will help reduce the risk of transmission across squads. During the times when they are off their bikes, they will wear their masks and socially distance, while screening for symptoms before practices.

The Loyola Cycling Team also regularly competes in the SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League beginning in late February. Thousands of student riders from seventy different local high schools in Southern California compete in this league; however, with the uncertainty of large gatherings permission, the league has developed a challenge system called the “Well Rounded Mountain Biker” (WRMB). The WRMB will be a merit based system that rewards riders for the distance they ride in miles, the altitude they climb in vertical feet, and other biking accomplishments like reaching summit vistas and demonstrating mechanical skills on their bikes.

Head Loyola Cycling Team coach Jon Tanklage said, “I can’t think of a much better socially distanced sport than mountain biking. It is easy for us to stay safely distanced while riding as we normally do. Riders will still get the full experience, which is great.”

The Gamer’s Club is another club that has been able to effectively shift activities online. In the previous 10 years of the Gamer’s Club existence, they would regularly meet on Fridays in the Student Center to host club activities like tournaments. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club has facilitated activities and gaming via Discord and organized gaming every Friday for its members. 

In addition to the Gamer’s Club, the Loyola ESports team will compete against other schools under the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). The CIF had inaugurated their ESports competition last year during the 2019-2020 school year and offered three games for competition: Smite, League of Legends, and Rocket League. The Loyola ESports team had fielded two four-man teams last year and is fielding three four-man teams for this year’s competition. The Fall 2020 season began on Oct. 12, and playoffs will begin on Dec. 7.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges and a new landscape requiring club adaptation, and the Loyola Cubs have risen to the occasion through online meetings or safe in-person meetings.

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