2020 was not an easy year, we can all agree, but it's always important to reflect, learn, and grow.
At the start of the year everything was business as usual, we were all in schools, or at work, pursuing our passions, and spending time with our loved ones. Then shockingly, a tragic helicopter crash in L.A. occurred that left many of us, and especially those in the sports world completely shook. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, along with their friends and teammates sadly passed away that morning. It was a very sad way to start off the year. And as we know now, it was just the beginning.
Shortly after that, the rumblings of COVID-19 were growing to be more than a concern, but if we're honest, I don’t think many of us thought we were going to be as affected here in the west. None the less COVID-19 continued to spread across the globe, and by March 14th we were on quarantine lockdown, trying to keep our community safe. We watched as other parts of the world, even other parts of our own country were struggling to flatten the curve, and even here in B.C. no one really knew what we were in for, as we all did our best to deal with mandates, and safety protocol, the virus kept coming.
Although people were losing so much all around us, it seemed like even at the beginning, there was a feeling like we just needed to stay positive, trust our healthcare professionals, stay connected, and realize that we were all in this together, and all do our part. We gathered around the front line, and saluted them every night at 7PM. We owe them so much, they really are our heroes in all this.🙌
For us, and so many others, the pandemic meant shutting down our business for an unknown time, none of us were sure what to do, or how to handle what was becoming our new normal.
After about two weeks of the lockdown for RainCity we knew we had to do something, we had to be there for our youth, and be active in our community. 😤
Video calling and chatting became a large part of our communication with our family and friends. This spurred the idea to provide basketball training over Zoom called RainCity Live. The idea of working out digitally was not new, but for us it became our way to stay connected, stay focused, and keep working on our game during the lockdown starting during Spring Break 2020. With or without a hoop, all we needed was a ball, a device, and the will to work. Separation season began!
With the help of our players who participated in RainCity Live, we were able to raise a quick $2000 for the local non-profit organization, Backpack Buddies. We were able to keep working together, keep getting better, and support a great Vancouver non-profit that provides meals for families in the Lower Mainland during an especially difficult time. This was huge for us and our community to keep in mind that even in tough times, we can always do something for others.
It was around this time a video surfaced of Minnesota Police officers kneeling on a black man's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. George Floyd was needlessly murdered in front of our eyes and triggered protests all around the planet against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. The echoes of these protests still ring today as our communities strive for long overdue justice, make real changes in our society, and raise awareness around the world.
Before we knew it, it was summer time; business was reopening as the economy had to get back on track, restrictions and guidelines were changing, and we were able to train together again outdoors, it was the start of Phase 2 of Return to Sport.
With the 2nd half 2020 beginning, we were all adjusting to the new normal.
Sanitizing and cleaning everything was part of our daily routine, We wore masks in public spaces, socially distanced ourselves, and spent most of our time outdoors enjoying the summer as best we could.
In June, the BC government gave us the green light on Phase 2 of Return to Sport. We started having socially distant outdoor workouts that challenged both the players and the coaches. We spent the summer at various different outdoor courts, but called Templeton Secondary School our home. We worked hard on our skills and fitness at Templeton while sticking together during a difficult time. It was amazing to see our players in person, and meet so many new families in our city.
We are extremely proud of our players for showing up each day ready to work and committing to improving themselves during a time when it was easy to sit back. Especially when it rained we stayed strong and got after it!
Slowly through the summer, the guidelines and protocol continued to change, we were able to introduce more team drills with passing, team concepts, and eventually competition. As we were able to expand our program, we began putting together teams of players from the city to compete together and begin the first teams at RainCity Basketball Club.
When autumn came around, so did the reopening of schools, gyms, community centres, offices, and more. It was great news, staying healthy has so much to do with staying active, and youth sports are such a big part of that.
We launched the first ever RainCity Basketball Club Teams. Over 100 young aspiring athletes came through to tryouts and we formed boys and girls teams ready to work.
The BC government allowed youth sports to continue with particular restrictions, but schools, colleges, and universities were not able to have a season in 2020 due to COVID-19. It has been very tough for athletes all over the world, but when you belong to a team, and can practice, support each other, and you can always help each other stay dedicated, pursue your dreams.
Having sports back in our lives was extremely exciting for all the players and coaches as we provided a safe place to exercise, work on our game, and form bonds with our friends and teammates.
As the season began to unfold, we were practicing with our teams, competing within our cohorts, and constantly building on our success and failures.
Meanwhile the cases in BC began mounting up. In mid-November we were forced to shut down our program temporarily and limit our social interactions to the level that we are today. We took our teams to outdoor courts, beaches, and back on zoom to keep up with our reps. Thankfully this closure was temporary, and youth sports has been allowed to continue in a smaller capacity as we continue to flatten the curve once again.
2020 had one new challenge after another, and we persevered together through it all. To everyone involved with RainCity Basketball Club, we THANK YOU for your support. As we keep moving forward, there will constantly be more bumps along the road, but if we stick together, stay positive, and work hard we will get through any obstacles, and build together.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Let’s make 2021 a special one!