From the Desk of Coach Geo… I would venture to guess that most Christmas cards sent this month will start pretty much the same way, “This has been one crazy year…,”
This article is no different and even as I type, I am still confounded with everything that has transpired these past nine months. Obviously, the most pressing issue being the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, March 12, the Pistons leadership and I discussed cancelling Pistons Academy games for that coming weekend. We decided to be cautious and cancel the 16 games scheduled for that Friday and Saturday. The plan was to resume the following weekend and just extend the season an extra week.
Little did we know that nine months later we would be wrestling with the same dilemma. A few weeks ago, the Pistons organization made the decision to cancel all Pistons Academy events through March 31. Believe me when I say that the entire Pistons Academy staff was disappointed on hearing the news. Our coaches, referees, volunteers and our scorekeepers felt displaced. But we all understood the reasons.
Many families have asked if we will resume once the Governor allows group activity to commence. I wish the answer could be yes but unfortunately we will have to wait until April. Even though Michigan may allow youth sports to commence, and I hope that is the case, it will be without the Pistons Academy.
There are many reasons why the Pistons chose to delay Academy programming until the spring. The largest reason being that we do not operate the buildings where we facilitate our programs. Although we can take the necessary precautions for the games themselves, we cannot guarantee the safety of the entire facility.
Not to say that our host facilities are negligent in executing their own safety protocols. In fact, all of our partner facilities have done an outstanding job navigating the stipulations set forth by the Governor. The issue we face is that these facilities have many other programs commencing at the same time causing the risk of virus exposure to be higher than what the Detroit Pistons feel comfortable with. Since we cannot monitor all these other activities, delaying our programs to the spring was our safest course of action.
The time off feels odd and there is absolutely no doubt the absence of our long-time players and coaches are missed beyond words. Yet, all of our directors at the Pistons Academy will be taking this time to reflect on our process and find new ways to make our programming better and more enjoyable for all. That said, we really do thank you for your patience.
When we do return, you can be sure that we will be just as excited as our players and coaches. We miss the “buzzer beaters” and the “and-ones.” We miss the strategy of the game and the cheering of the fans. Believe it or not, we even miss the coaches yelling for three seconds or over the back. Personally, I miss the smiles when kids score their first basket ever. Those I store in my basketball soul forever. And those smiles will help keep me going until Spring.
Check back every Tuesday and Friday for a new story on Pistons Academy, the 2020-21 NBA season and everything basketball!
Friday’s Story… Who are these guys? A glimpse into the new-look Detroit Pistons!