(Photo by Clickhead)

Many things are being learned in the midst of the pandemic, none so much as the importance of play.

Despite our best efforts, a recent study shared by Canadian Tire said that 277 million hours of organized sports activity was lost during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, most of those hours were taken from children in low-income households.

Canadian Tire reviewed research for over three periods of time – between the 2020 and 2021 school year until December, summer of 2020, and March to early July 2020. They noted that since capacities were limited amidst the pandemic, many kids were limited to their daily activity.

Typically, sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day is encouraged for children ages 5-19, where vigorous activity largely comes from structured play like organized sports.

Much of the world has changed since 2019, and while we’re still dealing with many changes, this change is one that no one wants to see.

Lost Hours:

“The impact of this is significant, and undoubtedly broad. The long-term physical and mental health impacts on our nation’s youth may not emerge for years,” Canada Tire said in a media release.

But researchers for Canadian Tire predict that this change may open up more opportunities as this shocking fact may restructure organized sports.

Less structured programming, promoting social connections over competition, steering away from contact sports, and more outside venues and sports will be such ways we can reorganize how we do organized sports.

Whatever it is, it’s sad to see kids not getting the play they deserve.

Some local sports organizations, such as the Saanich Peninsula’s PACE FC have stepped up to offer ‘at cost’ registration during these times, in hopes of making soccer accessible to anyone and everyone who wants to play.

They are able to provide this by having no paid coaches, consultants, or anyone within the club, municipal co-operation in use of fields, and sponsors and volunteers.

Though not an option for all organizations, it’s certainly a start.

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