A Calgary-based Frisbee athlete and world record holder with ties to Woodstock. is learning to adjust to life in a pandemic.

Rob McLeod, who goes by the moniker Frisbee Rob, has cancelled and postponed international trips for workshops at schools and to participate in Frisbee competitions.

McLeod, who grew up in Woodstock before moving to Alberta, told the Bugle Observer on Friday that the past month has been challenging for him.

“Everyone has their own challenges and their own struggles with it,” he said. “For me it’s an interesting perspective because I have a lot of friends who live all over the world. Everywhere is treating it very differently. It’s kind of like education. Every province, every city, every division, every country treats education different.”

He was on a trip that took him from B.C. to the Yukon, and scheduled to speak at schools in northern Alberta when the
country began to lock down under the pandemic, forcing him to go home two weeks early.

“I’m all about creating your own opportunities and it’s really tough when you are basically told you can’t do anything you want to do,” he said. “It’s been challenging that way. I still go outside. I’m still going for runs and getting out to throw Frisbees, but I’m not playing disc golf, not going to public parks. I’m not going to go against the rules.”

McLeod said he sees groups of people in Calgary who shouldn’t be close together. He notes there is no end in sight for the pandemic, but he sees importance in redefining what’s normal.

“It’s not trying to change your life forever, it’s just trying to figure out how to get by for now,” McLeod said. “Everyone is doing it their own way. Some people are doing a lot of Zoom chats, some people are volunteering a lot, some people are still working their regular job, but some people are struggling big time with finances.”

McLeod was forced to cancel a trip to Sweden, The Netherlands and San Diego, but he is still trying to make an impact. He is doing that with online Frisbee workshops for U.S. organizations.

McLeod teaches physical literacy and resiliency through Frisbee during his school visits. He said he isn’t really promoting those things now, considering most people are spending more time on screens while social distancing.

“I think people are spending more time on screens than they ever have, but it’s also something where it’s helping people get through each day, being able to talk to people and connecting with them through social media and video chat.”

He said the pandemic has also halted his goals for setting new world records and competing in world championships. McLeod had hired a trainer last Christmas. Since the pandemic arrived in Canada he has had to stop visits to the gym, but he trains from home.

McLeod said he has been coping by spending his time with a friend’s dog, so that he at least has a companion.
“Yesterday we went out and threw some Frisbees and we’re going to keep doing that,” said McLeod. “[We will] go for walks. Just trying to do things I believe in. Trying to work on projects. There’s a lot of different initiatives I’m working on right now.”

Having to stay at home when he tends to travel most of the time has been ironic, he noted. “I always sort of hope I can get more time at home because I travel too much, and I guess I get my wish now where I’m home all of the time.”

Article by: Doug Dickinson, Bugle Observer