FALL RIVER — Durfee boys head basketball coach Joe DaCruz instructs his team to play each game like it is their last one.
And who can blame him. In today’s world, his statement is just a fact.
“It has definitely been tough for the kids, and obviously for the coaches as well,” said DaCruz about the effects of COVID. “It is a little discouraging when games are canceled.”
The nightmare is back for the second consecutive season for indoor winter high school sports as area teams attempt to navigate and rearrange schedules throughout the latest COVID surge.
Last year, high school teams across Massachusetts had a shortened winter and Fall II season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no tournament games. The playoff games resumed in the spring.
Recent high school games: Case girls hoop edges Westport, Somerset Berkley hockey blanks Taunton
DaCruz’s team has had two of its games postponed so far this season. But compared to other teams around the state, the pair of games canceled isn’t too bad.
Bishop Connolly hoop programs paused their winter season prior to Christmas time until after the holidays.
All players and coaches must wear masks while playing and practicing. Everyone attending games must do the same.
Many other towns up north and in western Mass. are scrambling to get back on track after the beginning part of the season was postponed.
Dartmouth and New Bedford schools recently paused games and practice activities due to the rising number of new COVID cases in their area.
The Diman girls basketball team played its first game of the season in two years pausing to begin this season.
In the past week alone, 17 events were postponed from around Greater Fall River.
“Hopefully, we can all weather this storm,” said Somerset Berkley hockey coach Kevin Snyder, whose team is getting back two players who were in COVID protocol.
The Durfee school department recently issued a statement that only home spectators can attend games in limited numbers for the next two weeks. Home events will be live-streamed.
Durfee athletic director Brad Bustin said he hopes things will calm down with the reduction of fans in the building. He said each student-athlete will be given a limited number of tickets to pass out.
Nobody knows what the future holds.
Teams are making great efforts to keep things rolling this winter.
DaCruz said he hopes to keep this season normal as possible.
“What I keep telling the guys in practice: Keep practicing and be ready,” he said. “We can only control what we can control. If games are canceled then we have more time to prepare. You never know what tomorrow will bring.”
Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette sports editor Steven Sanchez can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chezsports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.