Spartan Boys Basketball turns around a slow start mid-season

Masks, changes in scheduling, and a season that’s been cut short are just a few examples of how the pandemic has affected varsity basketball players. The basketball season usually starts after Thanksgiving, but with the rising numbers, the season was faced with unexpected changes and challenges due to rising COVID-19 numbers.

Forward Gregory Forsberg said, “The biggest change would probably be that we have to wear masks now during practices and games.”

Guard Levi Mellin said, “I think the hardest part, at least for me, but for the entire team it seems like is wearing masks while we’ve been playing. It’s restricted breathing at such a high cardiovascularly intense sport so that’s been a bit of a challenge. ”

Our season was pushed back maybe a month; it was supposed to start around Thanksgiving and it started after we came back from winter break, so we lost a huge portion of our season.”

— Gregory Forsberg

Playing basketball during the pandemic comes with new challenges.

“The masks are definitely a big part of it,” Forsberg said. “It’s really hard to breathe just when you’re running around continuously in basketball.”

Masks are the most notable change, but social distancing is another challenge basketball players have had to face.

“We can’t do handshakes, we can’t meet in the locker room anymore, the benches are spread apart so were all six feet away from each other, we’re not supposed to share balls as much, just overall spread apart as much as we can, not as much contact between each other,” Forsberg said.

The world outside of SPA has also had to change with government mandates and the pandemic. The gyms that varsity players used to play at outside of school have been shut down because of the pandemic.

Forsberg said, “All the basketball courts have definitely closed because usually it’s very open and they let in whoever they want but now if you do want to do anything you have to book it which makes it a lot harder.”

The length of the basketball season has also been affected by the pandemic. It was cut short after a month-long pause was put into place in December, and players have had to adapt in many ways because of the switch from distance to hybrid learning.

Senior Levi Mellin said, “We were still able to practice [during distance, hybrid learning and flex days] which has been nice; sometimes it’s just the commute that’s challenging when you’re at home, especially for some kids who can’t even drive yet.”

Forsberg said, “Our season was pushed back maybe a month; it was supposed to start around Thanksgiving and it started after we came back from winter break, so we lost a huge portion of our season.”

Although there are many cons to the COVID-affected basketball season, the shared experience of the changing season and the experience of adapting to a new world creates a great sense of community and friendship among the varsity players.

Spartan Boys Basketball plays Feb. 25 v. Hope Academy in Briggs Gymnasium. The game will be LiveStreamed on the NFHS Network.