Sports, COVID-19, HOEM and the In Between

They say that sports has the ability to encapsulate various human emotions and have a definite outcome, unlike in real life. It often acts as an escape for university students who are struggling with day-to-day issues cropping up in university/other aspects of their life.

The question then becomes: What better time would sports be as effective a form of release for students than during COVID-19? From personal experience, the answer would be not that many!

As I spent a majority of my final year inside the four walls of my apartment in HOEM, I found myself desperate for a way out… while staying inside the parameters of my home due to COVID-19 restrictions. While I was living with people I knew from before moving to HOEM, we still had some different interests and hobbies. During a time like in the pandemic, it became even more important to find common ground with my roommates as I’d be spending nearly all of my time amidst their presence.

Luckily for us, we found that shared interest in sports as it helped bolster our friendship. We spent hours of each day talking about athletes from different sports and the stories revolving them. For instance, we didn’t need any prior cues to re-ignite our intense Ronaldo vs Messi debates! As an aspiring writer/journalist who was interested in going into sports media, these conversations only further strengthened my interest in the profession.

As the sun gradually faded away on most days, we found a simple solution to further extend these conversations into exhilarating moments. We would gather together on the sofa in our living room, strap in, with faces full of excitement as we chose from a buffet of live sports that were taking place on that particular night.

Perhaps, that was the biggest draw to sports in general; On any given night, we had a wide variety of sports to choose from so that we would never get bored of watching. When every day was slowly merging into one and when I couldn’t find joy from other activities, being able to discuss and watch basketball, football or even the NFL really rejuvenated me. Suddenly, there was something to look forward to even from the comforts and restrictions of being in Res during the pandemic.

Sports started to become a more significant aspect of my life when COVID-19 restrictions started to ease up in the last few months. Only then was I able to amalgamate the two most attractive aspects of sports and living at HOEM: the exhilarating nature of the profession and the community that I had formed in residence.

Having interacted with students from all over the building, I knew that many of them were also sports fans who were interested in watching the games together. Having felt the adrenalin of the mirrored emotions that my roommates and I displayed on a regular basis while watching sports, it only made sense to involve a few others in the proceedings as well. What transpired from then on was a mixture of thrill and anticipation on a nightly basis where we all would go through a myriad of emotions, all in the span of a few hours.

That’s the power that sports has had on us during this time, and it speaks to the impact it left on us. Even as we were ‘stuck’ at home during COVID-19, through the avenue of sports and the community at HOEM, I can’t imagine feeling any ‘more liberated’ than I did while being huddled up in front of the TV, in anticipation of the next sporting thrill.