Student Athlete Feature: Deena Rahal
Meet Deena Rahal, a student athlete.
In this first student athlete feature, we introduce you to Deena Rahal – a fourth-year Justice Studies student at the University of Guelph-Humber, and a player on the Humber Hawks women’s rugby 7’s team.
Tomas Karageorgos is the sports reporter for EMERGE News NOW, and conducted a Q&A with Deena to talk about how she has been staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What were your seasons like, pre-pandemic?
Our season for rugby 7’s is kind of short, but it’s pretty fast-paced. We start at the end of August for training camp. From then until normally the first week of November, we practice three days a week and then train in the High Performance Centre typically three to four days a week as well. In a normal season, we would have tournaments every Saturday.
How did you balance school and rugby?
In first year I learned that it was a lot to handle. But I think what really helped me was time management. I know a lot of university students emphasize that, and I totally agree with it. Even breaking down hour-to-hour what you’re going to be doing every day is super helpful. It just keeps you on track with deadlines and priorities. So I think that time management has been a really important factor.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, how have you been training and keeping fit?
It’s just finding productive and different ways to stay active because we’re all kind of trapped inside. I have been trying to find different outlets to occupy myself since I can’t be with the team. So lately I’ve been doing Zoom workouts with my team. Our High Performance Centre has been running team sessions every week. It’s a little different, working out through the camera and online, not doing the same workouts as normal.
But I think that’s been a really good way to stay active and still be a part of the community is Zoom workouts. Also just walking, I never really appreciated it as I was so busy, jumping to athletics, then walking to Guelph-Humber, and walking home after practices. It was just kind of my daily routine I never thought of how important walking is. Just throwing in some headphones, I’ve been trying to get into podcasts. Just going for walks has been helpful too.
How have you been keeping in touch with your coaches?
Humber Athletics has a High Performance Centre for the Humber athletes. So if you play on a team, we have coaches who help us with our workouts.
We’ve been using this app called TeamBuildr and it has all of the workouts for you every week. You just log in and they have been accommodating with people not having equipment. It’s a lot of body weight stuff and cardio. A really good way that I’ve been keeping fit is having that support by my coaches and directing me in that way.
What do you miss most about playing?
I miss that kick-off adrenaline. I know it sounds really weird but I was looking at film recently and there’s this feeling that you get at kick-off. It’s like I’m about to tackle someone, or I’m about to catch this ball and run as far as I can. I think I’m missing the excitement that comes along with rugby in the community.
I miss going to practices and games, listening to music with my team, getting ready before the game and everyone hyping each other up is something that I’ve really missed for almost a year.
What memories will stick with you after you graduate?
I think memories are all the opportunities that athletics gives to their athletes. It’s something that I will always hold close to me. We’ve had the opportunity to travel: we went to Bermuda and played in a tournament there – that’s something I’ll always remember.
The environment that Humber Athletics have given, especially female athletes, kind of empowering women through getting strong and strength and building a community of strong women is something that I really loved being a part of. Empowerment through fitness, health and wellness has always been something really important to me and I’m glad I was a part of a larger community.
Watch Deena’s feature here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tefKyJxFVWg