The COVID-19 pandemic is not going to stop Ringette Alberta from offering members the chance to participate in some good-natured competition.
To keep athletes and teams engaged, the association is hosting the Social Media Provincials – an online competition where ringette players submit videos of themselves performing certain tasks – from March 18 to April 18.
“It’s essentially a big social media project, and a way to keep our teams, members and players connected, as we’re all in social-isolation mode,” said Robyn Gillespie, Ringette Alberta’s sport development co-ordinator.
She said the idea stemmed from the abrupt cancellation of this year's provincial, regional and national ringette championships, which were slated to take place in March and April.
“Literally the day a provincial tournament was about to start, we had to cancel it,” Gillespie said. “We were all disappointed, so this was just a way to keep teams together and participate in something.”
Athletes will be posting videos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and tag @ringettealberta. The tasks all relate to the pandemic – for example, the first task required players to submit a video demonstrating how to properly wash your hands for 20 seconds.
Another activity had players post a video showing a new way to greet someone without shaking hands. Others had players post photos of them using FaceTime with to connect with a friend, and dropping off supplies at the house of someone who is self-isolating.
Gillespie said the tasks are designed to following Alberta Health Services’ guidelines, such as practicing social distancing.
“A lot of them can be done from your house, so even if you are sick and have to stay at home, you can still do these things and participate,” she said.
The competition has seen buy-in from ringette players across the province, Gillespie said, with many participants coming from Calgary, Airdrie, St. Albert and Red Deer.
“The first day, I came in and opened my email, and I usually don’t get that many emails in one day, but I had 30 in just 10 hours,” she said. “Within 40 minutes of us announcing this, we had tons of likes and shares.
“It’s exciting – I’m really glad people are participating.”
While the Social Media Provincials are largely about educating and adhering to Alberta's health orders, Gillespie said there is still a competitive aspect. She said teams with the most submissions for each age group and division will receive the medals that would have been handed out at provincials.
“We’re all competitive people and, like my colleague mentioned, we can’t use these medals for when provincials come back next year, because they say 2020 on them,” she said. “Every submission is counted and I’m totalling them all up.
“It depends on how many teams from each division participate but we think we have enough medals to give out, all the way from U10 and U12 to open, which is 18-plus.”
To participate in the Social Media Provincials, Alberta players are asked to tag @RingetteAlberta when they submit their posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and mention which team they play for. The association posts the standings on social media each Friday.
Gillespie said videos can also be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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