Boys’ basketball’s shortened season gets even shorter

Despite being classified as a “high-risk” sport by Governor Andrew Cuomo, boys basketball was set to begin at Schreiber on Feb. 1.  After having to stay at home for two consecutive snow days, tryouts began Feb. 3, but in a far from normal way.  

Student-athletes had a laundry list of protocols to follow: players had to attend school remotely for the length of tryouts and the season, submit to weekly COVID-19 testing, and submit a health form each day by 2 p.m. to be eligible for the day.  Additionally, not everyone could try out in the same gyms, or at the same time.  The athletes were split into four separate pods, two for varsity and two for junior varsity.  Because of the ongoing protocols, this became necessary, as they could not all fit into gyms at the same time.  Players were required to wear masks during tryouts and practices, but they were told that it would be optional during games.  All of these new rules created an extra layer of stress for the potential Vikings.  

“It was really stressful to hear these covid protocols at the beginning of tryouts.  With everything in lockdown, I hadn’t played a true game of basketball in a few months, and I really hadn’t been able to workout in gyms.  It was also stressful because we knew that there were likely to be fewer team members than usual, to make the protocols easier to fit,” said sophomore Sean Mondschein.  

After three days of tryouts and the first practice, disaster struck.  The team learned that a player had tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 7.  All who tried out were immediately contacted.  They were all mandated to quarantine for ten days from their last contact with this player, which for the team was Feb. 6.  Therefore, they were not allowed to continue their season until Feb. 16.   

This was a huge disappointment to the senior class, who had been looking forward to any chance to get on the court.  They had all been anticipating having a successful season together and avenging their postseason loss last year.  With many players who had an influential role on the court in previous seasons, and others looking to step into that spotlight role for the first time, it was tough to be sidelined for two weeks.  

“I have not been able to play competitive basketball for nearly a year, so having an opportunity to play, even for nine or ten days, was still worth it,” said sophomore Chase Pastolove.

During their time in quarantine, the team met virtually every other day and discussed the game of basketball.  A topic that was brought up a lot is the role of a leader on a basketball team.  The coaches referenced Kobe Bryant to point out to the team how his dedication to working hard work  which made  him so successful.  They explained that in order to succeed,  maximum effort is necessary and the importance of  out working  the person competing against you.  

During this tumultuous season,  role models like the late Kobe Bryant and the seniors varsity members played an important role for all of the team’s members, especially those with little experience.  These leaders embody the best qualities in an athlete, both on and off the court: hard work, respect, coachability, and most importantly, accountability.   

“It’s important as seniors that we lead by teaching the younger kids how the varsity level works.  They only get a month of experience before becoming seniors so it’s our goal to help them improve as players and people,” said senior captain Dylan Trenaman.