“We couldn’t do half as much as we did before”.

There is no difficulty for anyone to see that the pandemic had upturned people’s lives in all aspects including sports. COVID-19 has created a wave of consequences that have had a domino effect on sports teams all over the globe. It seems that even the smallest of gatherings have been under threat from the pandemic.

Local 16-year-old basketball player Ramona Kingdon from the London Feltham Warriors team who has been playing basketball for 4 years, was delighted to be discussing how sporting events such as basketball have dramatically shifted during the pandemic and how this has left the team afterward. The Feltham Warriors are known for being announced under 18’s conference league champions last season (2019-2020).

Before the arrival of the pandemic which brought the lockdown we all faced this year, she notes that training pre-hand was “just like any team” where there was “regular training and games that were planned out properly”. Kingdon adds that there was “more or less an organised schedule” since the beginning of the season- it seems that then, all of this was disrupted by a new arrival. She describes that there was a time when they couldn’t play basketball at all “when all the schools were closed”- “it was only in about July that we resumed playing, so I think it was about 4 months that we had off”. Training moved to local parks where she describes the setting as “cold and wet- the hoops didn’t even have nets and the backboards were just eroding right in front of your eyes”. It meant that training suddenly changed from one environment for the group to a completely different one in which they had to adapt in order to live out their basketball successes.

The pandemic caused the u16s premier league to be “all over the place”. Kingdon describes how they had to “rearrange training times and court bookings” which were still hard to get previous to lockdown life. Correspondingly, due to the number of people attending going down it meant that practice became more frequent to maintain the team’s high performance. A “massive challenge” that faced the Feltham Warriors was trying to sort out the teams down to older girls being no longer in the right age category to continue playing along and the team just getting smaller.

After the lockdown rules had eased, Kingdon recollects that “we now only have one training session a week” unlike when “we used to have 3 sessions a week”- it means that for the team their practice had to move to not only working altogether but now concentrate more heavily on solo improvement. Another struggle seems to be that others within the sport have to face is simply getting to the training. Buses are only taking on 14 people a time “and if we can’t get on the bus then we are further late to training which means the team is down on numbers”. But it’s not just down to sheer numbers- parents and family members/carers are also cautious of letting children onto public transport where they feel they may be at more of a risk.

For some, joining a new local sport may seem like the ideal thing to do after a reflection during the lockdown-It may seem like a new experience after the prolonging months of nothing. Yet there is still the challenge that faces not only the Feltham Warriors but all sports teams around the world which are having to adapt to new conditions and environments which has shaken the word ‘community’ forever. It means that communication in both sport and normal life may be harder, yet it still seems that the team is determined to be behind one another no matter what.