From the NBA Bubble to SHHS: Basketball under COVID-19


Alex Martin-Romero

Coronavirus has obviously affected many businesses and institutions, including sports.Most college and professional sports have continued with fan restrictions but not many more limitations. Basketball, being one of the most high contact sports and held indoors, causes red flags right away. Once a case was identified in NBA player Rudy Gobert on March 11, all sports shutted down indefinitely and the NBA season was in question. This is when the idea of literally a “bubble” formed allowing basketball games to continue and finish out the season, with Los Angeles Lakers winning in 2020 and claiming their 17th NBA championship. There was only a virtual fan audience and no family members were allowed for most of the time. Players, coaches and other team members lived and played in the bubble for over 3 months. A total of 0 cases over the whole time were tested for, proving the format to be very effective.

Since creating a bubble was a solution for the NBA, could South Hadley High School also have something similar? Unfortunately not. In fact, since there seems to be no safe way to move forward with basketball, many wonder if there will be a season at all. According to the New York times, cases are surging in Massachusetts (and in Hampshire county), with numbers higher than those at the beginning of the outbreak in early March. With this in mind, a basketball season for South Hadley High seems really doubtful at this point. Varsity guard Chase Mathers had this to say regarding the season: “I believe the chances are very close to zero but it would be nice to have one. Since the cases are surging though I think it is dangerous for the players and coaches to have one”.  

Yesterday the MIAA voted unanimously 20-0 to not hold winter championships, only allowing practices and local play. However, basketball being considered high risk, would need major modifications and therefore, it will be very difficult to play, but not impossible. Could the schools in Western Mass build a bubble for all the HS players to be living and playing for the season? It sounds fun but unrealistic. However, let’s not count basketball out completely as there are efforts being made to try and salvage a high school season probably with adjustments. If not, we will have to wait for next year and in the meantime, keep dreaming of basketball during this Covid-19 nightmare.