2020-09-09

Seahawks football sacks season, looks to alternatives for players

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>Some Seahawks pictured during last season.</p>

South Shore Seahawks minor football games are sacked for this season but the association's president is hurling a Hail Mary pass in hopes of salvaging some sort of play during the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent return-to-football plan proposed to the province, based on progressive easing of public health requirements, didn't get authorization because it didn't meet requirements for competition play.

"We know there is interest in returning to competition play for football and many other sports," Sarah Levy MacLeod, a spokeswoman for the province, recently told LighthouseNOW. "We want to see that, too, but it must be done safely, while adhering to approved sport-specific guidelines and respecting the requirements of Health Protection Act order."

Football Nova Scotia submitted the proposal to Sport Nova Scotia, which forwarded it to Nova Scotia's Communities, Culture and Heritage Department for review. Last month, football officials, including Seahawks association president and coach James Dickens, learned the "bubble" numbers concept on the table wasn't getting approved. This meant the allowable number of players in a group wouldn't translate well to league play, so the season was scrapped.

Dickens was left frustrated with the province's decision, given there was a feeling of optimism at the time.

"I really did think we came to the province with a very good plan," Dickens recently told LighthouseNOW. "I really did think they would let us play."

There are 70 kids registered for this fall's Seahawks program. Under ordinary circumstances, there would be four teams in different age divisions competing in game situations.

The association is left scrambling and turning to some in-house options, such as development or conditioning camps or flag football, as a stop-gap measure.

"We want to have a safe place for the kids to go play a sport so they're not sitting around working their X-Box thumb," Dickens said, noting that football keeps kids active and is the sole sport for some participants. Baseball is allowed to play, he pointed out, and other sports are ramping-up.

"Some sports, including baseball, were able to resume modified competition ... due to the low-contact nature of game play," Levy MacLeod explained to LighthouseNOW.

Dickens wants to keep players engaged as much as possible. A lost season could negatively impact the progress of players, such as the youngest ones in the Mites non-tackle division. "When you lose a season, you lose a lot of sport IQ with it," Dickens said.

The Seahawks program has enjoyed about eight years of existence. Players only have to supply cleats to participate; other gear. such as helmets, pads and uniforms - even mouthguards - are provided.

Although not what was hoped for in the current COVID-19 reality, the Seahawks promised, on its social media platform, football "of some kind will happen on the South Shore this fall."

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