Ukiah High Girls Varsity Basketball coach Mike Wright started a basketball class through the City of Ukiah in early June. There were two groups, one for the ages 13-15 run by the JV coach, and the other for ages 16-18 coached by Wright. These sessions were available to all Ukiah High School girls and took place at the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center.
The City asked Coach Wright if he wanted to coach these classes because the city wanted to provide kids with opportunities to participate in physical activities, and he accepted their offer. To follow all COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, Coach Wright monitored and made sure they practiced all the pandemic parameters. He described coaches being required to wear masks the whole time, and there was always hand sanitizer available for use. Another part of the protocol all participants had to abide by was if anyone was feeling ill or thought that they might have been exposed to COVID-19, they were not allowed to attend the practices until they were cleared to come back. They also made sure that the group’s session times were spread far enough apart so that everything could be adequately sanitized and cleaned.
Coach Wright was able to run these basketball classes one day a week for a month until the guidelines were changed. Due to the new guideline condition, the classes were discontinued. Wright was happy to say that they had no cases of COVID in their groups and that all the athletes did their best to follow the guidelines and stay safe. Wright said, “[o]verall, this was a great experience for the athletes. It was nice for participants to experience a sense of normalcy in these crazy times.”
Ukiah High Junior Jenna Mowery said that the practices were not as fun as before COVID but knew she had to continue practicing to stay prepared and in shape for upcoming seasons. She remembered that some of the COVID-19 protocol that had to be practiced was the team could only practice with eight players, and the coaches had to wear masks while staying six feet away all time during the practices.
Adults like Coach Wright are working to provide athletic opportunity and socialization to Ukiah High Wildcats at a time when we desperately need it.