COVID-19 Closeup: Rina Rode
Subject: Rina Rode, sports co-ordinator, Niagara Region High School Athletic Association.
What would you be doing at work now if the pandemic hadn’t hit? I would be thawing out from officiating at all the high school track meets! Is it just me or has spring disappeared? I remember track meets which were being contested under a blazing hot sun and everyone went home at the end of the day burnt to a crisp. The last several years track meets have been cold, rainy and windy — rather than wearing shorts, T-shirts, sunglasses and sunscreen as in previous years, we have had to wear hip waders because of the mud and blankets to keep warm (thanks Sharon Stewart).
What are you doing now? Job wise, there are still tasks to do. Even though there is much uncertainty, we still plan as though everything will be running as per usual in the fall. Tasks like updating playing regulations and the sports website as well as determining SOSSA (Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association) convenors has all been happening. For myself, there isn’t as much impact with regard to the job, since it is a part-time position anyway.
What is the biggest obstacle to doing your job during the pandemic? That’s an easy question to answer. Education has gone virtual due to the pandemic, and because of that high school sports have been temporarily put on hold — the obstacle is that there are no sports to co-ordinate.
What do you miss the most about the pre-pandemic world of high school sports? I miss seeing my boys (Harvie, Sandy, Ron, Mike, Alex and Rob) as well as the phys-ed people (teachers, coaches, athletic designates) with whom I typically am in contact. I miss seeing the success that our local student-athletes achieve in their various sporting activities.
What do you miss the least about the pre-pandemic world of high school sports? I do not miss going home at the end of a track meet with my shoulders hunched up around my ears after freezing my gluteus maximus off all day!
What is the biggest thing wrong with high school sports that you can reveal without getting fired or demoted for your honesty? As much as we try to make it so, it isn’t always an even playing field for all student-athletes. Opportunities are better for some than for others.
Is there an easy way to fix the problem? I certainly can’t think of one….
Is there a hard way to fix the problem? …. but we keep on trying through collaboration and discussion amongst ourselves and with other sport associations.
What would be one suggestion to make high school sports better? We need to keep funding sports and we need to keep encouraging our coaches, our athletes and society in general of all the wonderful lessons learned and experiences shared because of participation in high school athletic programs.
Has the pandemic changed how you will approach your work? Not really. Our athletics group has an office in Thorold Secondary School, but most of us work remotely already — smartphones allow you to work from most anywhere.
What is the first thing you are going to do when life returns to normal? Get together with our friends — have dinner together, travel together, go to sporting events together.
What daily activity do you miss the most? Not seeing our friends on a regular basis — although with golfing now permitted, that situation is evolving. Not having any of my teams on the radio or TV (go Leafs, Raps and Jays!)
What guilty pleasure do you miss the most? Travel. Sporting events (both live and televised).
What is your favourite outfit to wear around the house if you are working from home? Shorts, tank top and sandals are always my favourite outfit — casual attire is the way to go!
What do you do to replace the time spent working with the kids? We just got a COVID puppy — after five years we decided that since we probably wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while due to the pandemic, we would finally replace our dog who passed away five years ago. Our daughter mandated a baseball theme name, and although she wanted Wrigley or Fenway as the name we settled on Scout (since my hubby and I feel that both of those ball parks are highly overrated — sorry Cubby and Red Sox fans). We also have been watching a movie every night together (since there are no sports). We finished all the 2019 Oscar nominated films, as well as the Mission Impossible franchise and Tarantino films. Currently we are nine films into the Marvel universe.
Are you mostly likely to be a hunk, chunk, drunk or Sasquatch when the pandemic ends? Let’s just say that once 4 p.m. rolls around, a glass of wine magically appears.
What is the worst habit you have picked up during the pandemic? Watching a little too much CNN to see what you know who is saying and doing (rolling my eyes here).
What is the best habit you have picked up during the pandemic? Working out at home rather than at the gym!
What is something good about yourself you have discovered during the pandemic? I can actually cook dinner several times a week if I absolutely must.
What is something bad about yourself you have discovered during the pandemic? That I have to actually cook dinner several times a week.
BPSN and the COVID-19 pandemic
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