From residents donning their Saskatchewan Roughriders gear to the more than 20,000 residents in the province that participate in football every year, the announcement that the sport was getting the green light to return was music to many people’s ears, especially those at Football Sask.
“We were practising and training in groups of eight, and kids were getting pretty bored of that,” says Jeff Yausie, executive director for Football Sask.
“And we were really close to a time when we were going to start cancelling and taking a break for the summer and get ready for the fall. So essentially the news came right in time.”
“We’ve been away for a year,” Saskatoon Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant said. “So son of a gun, it’s just getting reacquainted. Hey, we missed them, they missed us, it’s just good to be back.”
The next step will be re-introducing hitting to the young players.
“Part of tackle football, contact football is safe contact week, and a graduated introduction into contact, and so that’s what we will be focusing on in the next week or two,” Yausie said.
But the game won’t be any different. Whether you are talking, touch, flag or tackle football, the game will have no restrictions or rule changes between the lines. Off the field or on the sidelines they will be some, as well as for those in attendance. Especially those from different households.
“There is very little, very few (COVID-19) restrictions, on the field, except social distancing on the sideline if you can,” Yausie said. “Seems like they are not as concerned with sport on the field as they are for socialization outside of the game and outside of sport.”
They also don’t expect participation numbers to dip, once again they are expecting a rise in the numbers of females playing.
“We are certainly looking forward to seeing professional football at some point here this summer, hopefully, this summer, if not this fall for sure,” Yausie said.
“But I think it’s about who we are and we identify with it (football) and people love it and are passionate about it.”
Outdoor sports are set to return on Sunday, May 30.