This Season Will Be Different – A letter to the Community

Dear basketballscotland member,

This weekend sees basketball clubs across Scotland finally get back to playing the sport we love. Did we really think back in March 2020 that it would be September 2021 before we would again play actual games between clubs?

This day has been a long time coming and we’ve all been through so much. Some of you will have lost friends and family to Covid-19. Many will have experienced the illness at first hand and others may still be feeling the lasting effects of this virus that has changed all of our lives.

Although the return of basketball games is a huge and important victory in itself – and one worth celebrating – that sense of victory needs to be tempered by the knowledge that the pandemic is not yet over. As a result, this season will be different to any other. There is no getting away from this fact. Why? Because many clubs across the country are struggling to access places to train and play, and the effects of the virus and the need to quarantine will continue to affect players, coaches and officials’ availability for games. With such uncertainty, there is no league structure or set of rules that can effectively work around the number of difficulties which are likely to arise. For this season, expectations of normal service in club competitions have to be put to one side.

Therefore, we ask all of you to focus on one central thing in the games and the season ahead: that simply playing basketball again is a victory. We ask you to put your love of the game at the centre of what you do. This, we believe, is the only way to make this season work for all of us. Having the expectation that the season ahead should be perfectly organised and delivered in all ways, can only create frustrations and divisions that will quickly eclipse the enthusiasm we all feel right now for being back playing this extraordinary sport.

However, in order for this to be achievable, everyone needs to play their part. Therefore, we ask you to spread this message throughout your club – to coaches and players, to table officials and friends and family associated with your club – so that everyone shifts their expectations in a positive way that will help us get through this season with our love of the game, and our sense of pleasure at being back playing, intact.

To help spread this message, we’ve recorded a short presentation that goes into more detail about the changes we expect to see in the season ahead. Feel free to share it with as many people as necessary to help shape a positive culture within your club. We will make a concerted effort to support these messages in our communications throughout the season ahead. View the presentation here.

Everyone at basketballscotland has been immensely proud of our community throughout this pandemic. This past 18 months have seen us work together in ways that we haven’t seen before. We’ve become less of a disparate collection of clubs with a governing body, and more of a sport that sees the value of working together and sharing knowledge – a community that recognises that collaboration is crucial in order that our sport achieves its potential. This is the place that basketballscotland has wanted to get to – but it took a pandemic to allow us to meaningfully start that process. I want to personally thank you all for working to change the culture in important ways.

The challenge in the year ahead is not to let go of the gains. By continuing to work together, and not alone within our respective clubs, I believe we can make a great success of the season ahead.

For those clubs who are able to admit spectators, I hope to see you in the weeks and months ahead. If you would like me to come and visit you and to see how you’re getting on, please feel free to get in touch.

I wish you all the very best for the season ahead.

Best wishes,

Stephen Ferguson

Acting Chair of basketballscotland