Boys basketball team experiences late start to season

The postponement of the Varsity Boys Basketball season came to an end when Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced in a public statement on Feb. 4, that indoor contact sports may resume, as long as safety measures, like wearing masks during games, are followed.

Sports at Novi continued with a tentative full schedule on Feb. 8, as long as masks were worn and the players were following the new state health order. Student athletes had to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

“It’s also important to remember that as we take this step, we must remain vigilant,“ Whitmer said in a recent statement. “At the end of the day, what has been most important throughout this process in making sure our kids can play is that we keep them safe as they do.”

Varsity basketball player Danny Groechel has been bothered by the pandemic’s changes to his junior season for the Wildcats. 

“There was a three month pause on the season for tryouts,” Groechel said. “I didn’t really get much exercise during that time period and felt exhausted once the season started.” 

He was not fully prepared for the actual season as it was declared soon after Whitmer’s statement.

“For the season, we had to do non-contact for the first two weeks of the season. We must also wear masks while playing to stop the spread,” Groechel said.

A tradition for most sports, team dinners, have also been removed; which raises concerns in a lack of team bonding. The team has been trying to find any type of opportunity to try and replicate this team-bonding experience.

 “We can’t do a team dinner, so on Sundays we meet up on Zoom and get into breakout rooms to play some small games together,” Groechel said.

The team has gone through adversity due to the pandemic. For Groechel, having to wear masks is more difficult for them to play games. 

“I understand wearing masks on the bench, in the locker room, on the bus, etc. But I don’t understand why we have to wear them during the games when people dont wear them 80% of the time and how hard it is to run with them,” Groechel said.

In addition, the team does not always know when their next game is. The uncertainty of the full season is because of potential COVID cases, causing the team to go into quarantine

“This past week we just got the news that we have been put into quarantine and both of our games this past weekend got canceled,” Groechel said.

From the mask restrictions, to not knowing when their next game might be, the team has felt heavy adversity during this time. With the season coming to a close, it is unclear when the team will return to good old-fashioned basketball.