HBHA Varsity Basketball Amid Covid-19

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Ethan Sosland, Co-Editor in Chief

Slider photo by Ethan Sosland

Basketball is HBHA’s most popular sport by far, with many HBHA families attending games each season. Students can come to the games, hang out with friends, and even grab some popcorn and a hotdog if they want. Parents can sit back, relax, and enjoy the game. However, after the COVID-19 outbreak, the return of HBHA basketball was questionable. Outdoor sports such as soccer and cross country were able to take place, but allowed limited fans to attend. Basketball, being an indoor sport, comes with its own set of challenges. 

If basketball happens this season, it will look a little different. According to Austin Benton, HBHA’s sport’s coordinator, no games are scheduled, and six out of the nine schools in HBHA’s league have postponed the possibility of having any until at least January. On the other hand, the other three schools decided to begin games immediately. When games are scheduled for HBHA, fans will not be allowed in the stands. So, if you were planning on attending a basketball game this year, it will likely not happen. However,  if games are played, people will still be able to enjoy them from the comfort of their homes because all games will be live streamed on HBHA’s facebook page.

Despite not being able to play games right now, the players have begun practicing. The girls and boys varsity teams had their first practice Nov. 1, where they were required to follow strict safety guidelines. Those guidelines include: wearing a mask at all times, each player bringing their own ball to practice, and shooting drills in placement of scrimaging-doing conditioning . These safety guidelines are a part of Phase 1. Phase 2 will occur when all HBHA students are allowed to attend school full time, allowing scrimmages, offensive drills, defensive drills, in-bound plays, press breakers, and other drills where players share the basketball. Those basketballs, however, will have to be cleaned frequently. And, even with all these guidelines, a risk still remains of spreading the virus. Fortunately, the risk is low enough that, according to Benton, there is “not a huge drop off at all” and most students who played last year are playing again.

Despite any attempts to conduct HBHA basketball practices and games during the pandemic, the 2020 basketball season will likely be the most unique out of any other year. Photo by Ethan Sosland

Sophomore Illy Hammer has returned to play this year. She says that she  “thinks that the masks are necessary”, but finds it “difficult to breathe in [them] while being active”. Hammer also explains that she considered not playing basketball this year because she was worried it would not be safe. In contrast, sophomore Judah Schuster said he thinks it is “important to play sports,” but should still take precautions. Ultimately, they both decided to play. 

Both athletes are adjusting to the changes in the sport in their own ways. Hammer says that her favorite part of basketball is being able to, “play and win as a team,” so it is unfortunate that they are currently unable to do so. 

Schuster, on the other hand, says that he has benefitted from having more time to focus on improving his skills, and that “if COVID-19 has changed my skills at all, it would be in a positive way.” Overall, they are both appreciative that they get to play basketball at all. The season is still full of uncertainty, and as Hammer says, “we are lucky to be able to play this year at all”.