Unlikely Circumstances That Won’t Stop Us


Under normal conditions — and the current situation isn’t even close — Georgetown’s Lady Eagles and the state’s other University Interscholastic League girls basketball teams would have one period a day to hold a workout with their coaches. However, with the current state-mandated school closures and shelter-in-place edicts demanded by the attempt to blunt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the schools — gyms included —  are locked and most of the public basketball courts have been placed off-limits by local distancing guidelines. 


Obviously, the health needs have provided a barrier in the normal course of preparations for next season. For coach Rhonda Farney’s Lady Eagles, preparation is extremely important for a campaign in which only one of five starters returns from last season’s 25-9 team. They also have been placed in a new eight-team Region IV-5A district in which five teams made the playoffs last season. Also off-season competition of club teams — such as Georgetown’s Journey program — have been disrupted and there is no guarantee that the start of the 2020-2021 school year will be conducted — or at least started — as scheduled.


Senior-to-be point guard Graci Harris, the lone returning starter and captain, feels that the interruption of routine will have an effect on preparation for the upcoming season.

“I think not playing as a team during this time will make it more difficult for next year because we won’t be able to figure out how everybody plays,” Harris said, “but I do think if everybody is doing what they should be doing —  like ball handling and shooting on their own — then it will make the process easier because people will be able to score when game time comes.” Sheila Lee, a starting post on this past season’s district championship junior varsity, added, “I feel that we will forget how to work with discipline and we will all have to get comfortable with working out with each other again and coming back to being a team.” Senior-to-be guard Jordan Stout points to one of the biggest concerns of not working as a team.


“What I miss most about not working as a group is the encouragement from my teammates and coaches,” Stout said. “They are always there to help you push through anything and be the best you can be. So. when working out alone it’s a little harder not having them there to always help me push through anything.” “We all have the ability to communicate with one another through group chats, social media, etc.,” junior-to-be guard Ella Vickers said. “I know I  have talked to a few of my teammates, but I have not had a conversation with everyone.” Junior-to-be guard Sam Folsom talks about communication along similar lines. “What I miss most about not working as a group is our team warm-ups and being able to communicate with each other face-to-face.”

Of course, the biggest question remains how the Lady Eagles are coping with the isolation related by closed schools and shelter in place. A couple answers from junior-to-be guard Jacqui Spencer and post Vyctorya Lehr. “I think this situation can be looked at as an opportunity,” Spencer said. “Yes, the corona virus has negatively affected me like not being able to go out, having online school, etc., but the isolation has allowed me to explore and try things I never have or do things I’ve always wanted to do.

 “I get to spend a lot more time with my family, which I totally enjoy; even when we kind of get tired of each other. I have become more creative in ways to workout, and spent a lot more time outside because I’m not in school for eight hours a day. I do enjoy being able to have my own schedule. This situation has helped me look at a challenge half-full instead of half-empty.” Lehr explained, “We are coping pretty well. I’ve been able to get some stuff done that I’ve needed to get done for a long time. It’s helped me a lot with focusing on me and on my mental and physical health. It’s definitely brought our family close together and having everyone home all the time is really great.“


Senior-to-be post Lauren Woodard may have the best answer for what will help the Lady Eagles overcome the current inconvenience. “Being a Lady Eagle has prepared me for this challenge because it taught me determination and hard work, which makes it easier to complete my school work and workouts,” Woodard said. “It has also taught me to be kind and mindful of others which is very important to today’s challenge” Asked about “distance learning” senior-to-be forward Megan Herring and guards Aryana Hill and Tanaya Smith had the following answers: Herring: “Distance learning has been a huge change for us. We now have to manage schoolwork and workouts on our own time. This gives us an opportunity to be ahead of the game when we get back to school and the basketball court.” Hill: “Distance learning for me is way easier. I tend to get distracted in school so working from home definitely helps a lot. Distance learning for my teammates is really hard for everyone. Everyone prefers to be in a classroom working, not at home being distant. So it’s definitely hard.” Smith: ” I don’t mind the distance learning, because I don’t have to go to school but I don’t like the fact that we can’t see each other and work out because I hate working out on my own.”


Looking at the more practical factors this spring, junior-to-be post Niah Williams was asked what she needed to do to prepare for next season. Her answer: “I’m working out every day, and gaining more skills to better myself for my team.” Guard Morgan Larson talked about the spring basketball workload, saying, “I do the workouts that coach Farney sends us and sometimes extra, but on the weekends I’ll make up some of my own workouts or take a break, if I need it.”


Let’s not forget the managers, who in the Lady Eagles’ program handle more duties than those at most other schools.  Their observations and descriptions of their activities: Abigail Rutledge: “To stay connected as managers, we choose to update on our social lives during this time. In relation to basketball, working out is still a must for us. Working out allows our minds to escape reality, making us happier and hopeful individuals.” Lizzette Rodriguez: “It’s really weird not being able to see everyone everyday and not being able to see them workout but I really like how everyone sends videos and we get to see what everyone is doing during these times.” Makayla Owens: “First, I do two or three homework assignments for the day and then do some of the following things to keep me busy and occupied. For example rearranging the entire house and redecorating it with new pictures. I also have been getting rid of some things that I don’t wear or use anymore. I’ve even been catching up on shows that I have never had time to watch before. And, if I have any time left with my day, I’ll read something.” Emryis Mims: ““This spring has been very different being that we aren’t doing group workouts and on campus duties during this time! I definitely miss everyone but it has given us an opportunity to work on ourselves more and to focus on other things that we weren’t able while having to go to school everyday!”


 But when the school and gym doors open, the Lady Eagles will be ready for the challenge of a new district, new region and reduced preparation time. Under the current UIL schedule basketball practice — other than the one class period a day — is set to begin in late October with the season beginning in early November.



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