Riders find silver lining in CFL protocol rules
Public health restrictions lifted in Saskatchewan July 11, but the CFL is keeping a layer of precaution throughout Riders’ training camp.
After completing a seven-day quarantine before hitting the field with their teammates, players are still required to keep themselves distanced. The team is only allowed to move the players from their dorms to the stadium and then back.
Head coach Craig Dickenson said it’s a concern for every one when it comes to being able to build.a team bond.
“It’s a challenge this year to build chemistry, stay within the COVID guidelines – which we’re working very hard to do – and still put a good team on the field,” said Dickenson.
He added he would like to be able to take the team for an afternoon of fellowship at the bowling alley, or to get them off their feet at the pool, but those type of team bonding activities are off the table with the current guidelines.
“We’re not complaining, that’s just the reality of it, but those are things that bring teams together,” said Dickenson.
On the other hand, the players are finding a silver lining in the arrangement.
Quarterback Mason Fine said having these restrictions in place makes you focus on the game a little more.
“… You can’t go out, you just go back to your dorm and what are you going to do? You’re going to be on your laptop and watch Netflix, yeah, but you’re probably going to look at your playbook a little bit more,” said Fine/
Reciever Ricardo Louis said you can also find him in the playbook.
“I’m here, I’m in the dorms and the only thing I can think about is football and just getting better and making this team,” he said.
Using their time wisely, the players said they are trying to become the best players they can be.
“I”m just waking up everyday, following the schedule, doing what my coaches ask, trying to be the best player I can be for this team and doing what needs to be done,” said Fine.
Dickenson said he hopes the players are meshing and gelling well on their own, despite the lack of group outings.
The players are also asked to not visit each other’s rooms at the dorms, but they’re still finding ways to keep in touch.
“We have still texts, we still have group messages and FaceTime. We can still do that… [we’re] finding ways to communicate and learn the playbook together,” explained Louis.
Dickenson said the players are giving up a lot to be here, and they are all in the same boat fighting the good fight together.
“Hopefully when we start playing games and guys start seeing the fruits of their labour on the field, it will all be worth it in the end,” said Dickenson.