Recreational sports and national sports leagues move online

By Maria Lattanze
April 18, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many recreational sports to close their doors as the spread of the virus has increased due to large gatherings.  National leagues have suspended their games and practices for the rest of the season. Even though there are no longer physical gatherings, recreational sports, and national teams have continued their events online and continue to engage their communities.

A statement from the NHL and DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts regarding closing their doors to enforce social distancing
Photo by Maria Lattanze.

As of March 13, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf stated that all recreational sports close their doors. and all national leagues have suspended their games for the remainder of the season to enforce social distancing.  Senior communications major and political science minor Abigail Scardelletti is a big Flyers fan.  With her internship with the Flyers cut short, the change has impacted her negatively.

Gritty hosts a game show on Instagram Live with Flyers forward Kevin Hayes
Photo by Maria Lattanze

“I have nothing to write about since there’s no games or extra content to discuss,” Scardelletti said. “But I’m trying to create some content on my social media in terms of questions of the day on Instagram and such.”

The Philadelphia Flyers is one of the many national sports teams that have closed their doors to the public and postponed their season.  However, they continue to deliver content to their audience through social media. Their mascot, Gritty, has a daily show on Instagram Live entitled “Gritty’s ¼ Hour of Power.”  It is a game show where he plays games with a Flyers player. Games include charades, Jenga, yoga, etc.

The National Hockey League comes together as a whole to give their fans a boost of confidence by creating a montage of players from different teams giving a video message of hope.  

“I think interacting with fans is really important during any time in the season and offseason,” Scardelletti said.  “But I think the content the Flyers are trying to put out is great because it boosts morale and reminds us we’re all in the same boat.”

Recreational sports such as DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts were also affected by this pandemic, forcing their doors to close.  However, they have taken their classes online.

DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts is one of the many recreational sports affected by COVID-19
Photo by DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts

Hosting online lessons via Zoom and Facebook Live, students can still partake in class from their homes.  Students are also able to send in videos via Facebook of their curriculum and receive feedback from the instructors.

Master Dennis Koenig, a 6th-degree black belt at DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts hosted an adult, black belt class online via Zoom and found the difficultly of teaching classes online.

“Watching students do different things in person, with my own eyes, is easy,” Master Koenig said. “I’m trained, I’ve been doing it for decades.  Watching five individual people do different things in different boxes broke my brain. It was nearly impossible to keep track of everything, and when one person faltered, they ended up with nearly all of my attention.”

DeStolfos Premier Martial Arts hosts live classes on Facebook Live and Zoom
Photo by Maria Lattanze.

Being an instructor for decades, Master Koenig takes pride in all that he does as an instructor.  Although the feedback he received from the class was positive, he believes the class can be run better in the future.

“This was more of a logistical issue with the course I chose to run,” Master Koenig said. “I think it can work, and I learned a ton from my first foray into teaching martial arts online.”

Other than classes, DeStolfo’s also hold game nights and challenges where the students can win awards.  Overall, the community the karate school has created continues to be engaged with classes and activities DeStolfo’s continues.

As of now, DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts is uncertain when they will open their doors again and the national sports leagues have not issued a statement whether they will resume their games and practices.

For more information on how COVID-19 has affected events, visit this link for more information.

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Maria Lattanze

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