Basketball started open gym…before shutting down again.

Jared Juenger, Assistant Editor

As the school year rolled into the second quarter, so did Okawville’s most popular sport.  That’s right!  The 2020-2021 basketball season is right around the corner, well hopefully!  This year, open gyms have been extremely different than in the past.  Athletes must wear masks while they are in the gym.  This includes shooting, scrimmages, and in the weight room.  All of the athletes, along with the coaches, have experienced the pain of wearing a mask while playing basketball, but they know it is to keep them safe.  Coaches and athletes also know this is what they have to do for a chance to play the sport.

Although the athletes and coaches are wearing masks at open gyms, they still are not sure if their season is going to take place.  The number of COVID-19 cases in our area and the state is on the rise again.  The IHSA will release more information on the 20-21 basketball season soon enough.  But for now, Coach Kraus and Coach Obermeier believe it is important for the boys to continue to get better so they hopefully get to play a season.  Official practice does not start until about halfway through November.  Due to COVID, the basketball season is also a little shorter this year, with the season beginning in November and ending before the beginning of March.

Not only does the worry of not having a basketball season affect the players, cheerleaders, and the coaches, but also Okawville Rockets Basketball fans.  With a normal year, almost the whole town of Okawville comes to the school to watch and cheer on their favorite basketball team.  With the threat of the coronavirus, that all changes this year.  If there is a season, not as many fans would be able to come to cheer on the team.  This would be very upsetting for most of the citizens of Okawville as they enjoy coming to watch the team play.

Basketball is Okawville’s sport.  Not only because we have had a good team in the past years, but because it brings the town together.  Without it, we may fall apart and not grow as close together as a community.  Just think about it.  A year without Rocket basketball.  A year without screaming and exciting cheers from the O-Zone.  A year without clever and pep full cheers from the cheerleaders.  A year without great music provided by the pep band.  A year without a full parking lot on Friday nights. But, as a town, we understand the decision made will be the best decision to keep us and others safe.  There is no doubt in my mind that basketball does not bring this town together.  Basketball is our “glue”.  I, along with many others, just hope we do not have to go a year without our “glue”.