Montreal is home to over 1,500 outdoor public sports parks. This number is surprising, mostly because all of the opportunities advertised online narrow to expensive city clubs’ websites. Finding a place to practice one’s favourite sports is quite difficult, especially for students looking to participate in activities beyond what the McGill Gym offers. And for those lucky enough to find one next door, there is a lack of resources to provide patrons with information such as who can practice there and what equipment is available for use.
In turn, Aloïs Griffon-Monnet, a former Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) student and avid sportsman, created a mobile app, SecondBreath, to remedy the situation. SecondBreath will offer users the ability to locate Montreal’s many outdoor public sports facilities through an interactive map. The app will also display a given facility’s relevant information: Opening hours, fees, what sports can be practiced there, the type of surface (sand, grass, concrete, clay), and whether there are lights available for night use. Users will be able to view pictures of the facilities and rate the quality of any facility they’ve visited, and, through an interactive map, they can see the number of persons that are currently playing at a given location. Additionally, ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ options give friends the opportunity to invite each other to work out together. With such a function, SecondBreath will act as a social platform as well as a searching and rating mechanism for sports facilities around the city.
Griffon-Monnet hopes that the app will encourage people from different backgrounds and athletic levels to be more active.
“What is amazing with sports is that you get to meet people from different backgrounds and ages,” Griffon-Monnet said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “My best friends are between 21 and 32 years old, and I am 24. They are engineers, chemists, McGill, and HEC [Montréal] students [.…] I would have never crossed their paths if it wasn’t for sports.”
Further, many have found that engaging in athletic activities with other people can be beneficial beyond just their physical health. Given the incredible pressure that they are under, students often feel isolated and distressed. With SecondBreath, Griffon-Monnet hopes to provide people with an outlet to relieve such feelings. He believes that, through sports, participants can build healthy friendships which will help them cope with anxiety, stress, and loneliness.
“Practicing a [team] sport is not merely about meeting new, random people,” Griffon-Monnet said. “It is about feeling a sense of belonging. People who play together share something. They create a bond. They have the same passion, and, above all, have the same fair-play mentality.”
With summer quickly approaching, students who are staying in Montreal can try out Griffon-Monnet’s app whether they are looking to play pick-up with their friends, find a new sports facility, or just meet people who share a love for a game.
SecondBreath will be launched in the summer of 2019.