By Joanna Chadwick
Two days before the Maize girls basketball team was scheduled to open their season on Dec. 5 in Dodge City, they got the news they would be quarantined due to Covid-19.
So while the Maize boys — and so many other basketball teams in the area — have played three or more games already, the Maize girls finally get to play on Thursday against Maize South.
“It’s frustrating,” Maize coach Jerrod Handy said. “It’s one of those things.
“In the back of my mind, I felt like we were going to have to deal with it sooner or later. I wasn’t surprised when it happened, but it is frustrating.
“Especially because of how much they have worked, and then to not get to play their games right from the start.”
Maize won’t be the last team to deal with quarantine this season, so I wanted to pick Handy’s brain as a way to help others going through it.
Handy wanted structure, so each day at 3:30 the team met as usual for a zoom.
“I made up a practice, just like a normal practice,” Handy said. “I talked to them about their mindset and the emphasis we had that day to think about.
“And we went over plays on the diagram system that I have. I’d show them four or five plays, and they’d have to write it out in a journal.
“I gave them a workout that they’d have to do at their house. They did strength work, body-weight lifting and then a run or conditioning.
“We tried to keep them active each day — they wanted it. They were really upset when they first heard about it.
“You worry about their mental health, anxiety and depression, so as a coaching staff, we had to step up and keep them engaged.”
This was all new territory for Handy and his staff.
But he does have advice for others:
“I just think that you come together so close as a family and as a team, and you have to keep that going. You can’t leave them cooped up in their house the whole time,” he said. “Keep them focused and do anything to keep their spirits up. They’ll see the end is in sight.”