A decision was recently made that left the OUA & OCAA excluded from "elite amateur" status in the eyes of the provincial government. This means that while athletes in other organizations can adhere to certain return-to-play protocols, unquestionably elite OUA & OCAA athletes aren't getting the same privilege.
This post isn't meant to dive into the details of the situation, but recognize just how unfortunate this is to the student-athletes, staff, and coaches.
(Here is an update on the OUA's push for elite status)
When I think about the varsity grind, there are so many things I consider. I think of the 2 and often 3-a-days to get ready for the season. I think about the holidays you have to leave early to train with your team. As a student, I think about the midterms you have to study for on the plane or bus, all while staying on top of your scouting report.
At the root of it, I think about sacrifice.
I could talk about the sacrifices of student-athletes, staff, and coaches all day. I could touch on what I saw while I hooped at McMaster. I've met some people who have my highest respect and I'm sure you have too. But when you boil these experiences down, you see endless people who bet on themselves to get to the highest levels in Ontario Athletics.
And to indirectly say they aren't elite just doesn't sit right in my stomach.
Especially when you think about the great players and coaches from these associations who have gone on to represent our country on many global and professional stages.
I'm currently in graduate school for Public Policy & Administration, so I have an understanding that certain criteria must be met and everything. I also have a deep understanding of the public health measures that must be adhered to for the greater good of our people. So though I see some aspects of the administrative side, the athlete side of me still feels nothing but confusion for our sidelined teams.
You dedicate so much to get where you are. You train endlessly to be part of a select few that represent your institutions. You are elite. And when I think about other organizations, ones that have athletes who are future OCAA & OUA players (or will come from the OUA & OCAA) - that doesn't sit right with me either.
This post isn't meant to invalidate any organizations classified as elite, it's meant to extend empathy to OUA & OCAA teams. You also give your all to bettering your organizations and improving your craft on a daily. I hope you continue to do so, and stay safe in the process.
We are in unprecedented times, and there are many questions we continue to tackle.
All I want to say is that the OUA & OCAA are elite. So when the right criteria can be met, and the right procedures are in place, I impatiently await the day that this can be further recognized.
If you think this'll resonate with someone, let 'em know
|| Kwasi Adu-Poku