As schools across the country are starting to open up, one of the first sports to start up again is basketball.
Boys basketball has just recently started up once again with a 6- week, 15-game season all within the West Suburban Conference. Although there are no fans and spectators allowed, all games are being streamed online via the dupage88 website. “I’m sure morale was down at first, especially considering the lack of a full season & State Tournament, but our guys have responded well. Energy & enthusiasm hasn’t been lacking at any of our practices or games,” says Social Studies Department Chair and Head Boys Basketball Coach Brendan Lyons who has been coaching the boy’s basketball team for the past 10 years.
Boys basketball games have always been some of the most attended events at AT but this year the Covid-19 postponed the season just like it did every sport. The Governor’s decision to shut down sports came with extreme criticism from parents, students, and even staff. In fact, a petition to start-up sports again reached over 25,000 votes which helped push the decision to allow low-risk sports to be played. Whether it was the right decision to postpone sports, students and staff are just happy to be on the court once again.
After the pandemic ended the last school year earlier than expected, the coaching staff and players have rebounded extremely well. “Covid hit us so quickly in the Spring that many didn’t have the chance to think about or gauge the long-term impact it would have on athletics in general. I think it is extremely important for athletics to be taking place as long as the COVID guidelines are adhered to by athletes & coaches. Sports provide an outlet for athletes; a time to get away from the daily grind,” says Lyons who takes pride in how well the team has adapted to the situation. “I think if you asked any of our players, they’d say the last 5 weeks were as close to normal as they have felt in some time” he continues.
This sentiment is definitely agreed upon by the seniors playing their last season this year. “Being a senior makes me even more grateful that we got the chase to practice and play again for one last season. We’ve all treated it as we would a normal season in terms of our approach and mindsets regardless of the situation,” says senior Daustin Perez who runs the point for the Blazers. “I think after the waiting game we had to go through and all the uncertainty prior to the season, there’s been more of an emphasis on enjoying the ride this year, which is really what your senior year is about,” he continues.
The Blazers had a losing season last year but hope to change that this year despite the difficult conditions. The remainder of the games this season can be live-streamed through the district88 website.