Spring into Action
With the IHSA finalizing their calendar for the remainder of the year, coaches have had to rewrite their playbooks for how their upcoming seasons are going to look.
While some sports got to play their full schedules last year, others have gone almost a full year without a season. In the realm of boys volleyball, there may not be as much experience coming into the season, but that doesn’t mean the players aren’t willing to compete. “Since last season was cancelled and younger players were not able to get the experience and reps they deserved, we will have to scale back a bit on our goals to make them realistic,” head boys volleyball coach Michael O’Brill said. “Having only a few seniors in the program and no one with any varsity experience, we are hoping to be competitive in all the matches we play. Obviously, we are always shooting for a conference title because we want to keep the bar high since it has never been done before.””
With girls basketball coming off of a state and super sectional appearance the past few years, the program has had to shift into a different gear and slow down to what the new norm is, especially since there is no road to state at all this year. “Our goal will always be to have a competitive conference season whether there is a state competition or not, and in the end, any game is a good game,” head girls basketball coach Kim Demarginy said.
With their program being so big on togetherness and family, this season appears to be a bit of a challenge to build that bond but that’s not stopping them from still using the resources they have to do the best they can. “We still, of course, participate in Zoom meetings as well as play games on Zoom together but not being in person with each other is definitely a challenge. Most importantly though there’s more to life than just basketball, so we’re just trying to stay connected and make sure everyone’s safe and healthy,” Demarigny said.
For football, with a new head coach, the season moving seven months forward, and of course a pandemic happening, they are looking for the upsides. “As a new head coach and teacher at Maine West, I have appreciated that it’s given me more time to get to know our players. As difficult as the delay has been, that certainly has been a silver lining,” head football coach Geroge Klupchak said. For their new spring schedule, the team will start their season next Friday, March 19 at Deerfield, with their home opener on March 26 against Niles North.
For many coaches, this new season change has created weeks of overlap between seasons, making being a coach for multiple sports a unique challenge that they will have to take on. “If I am being honest, I am not looking forward to the overlapping of seasons and it will be a difficult time to manage two sports at the same time from both the coaches and athletes perspectives,” O’Brill said. “The good news is that everyone will be in the same situation and all coaches will understand the challenges that we face. I believe the coaches here at West will do a phenomenal job making it work and being accommodating towards each other’s athletes and situations.”
While this may be viewed as a burden to some, many coaches remain thankful that they are able to have a season in the first place; no matter where the fans are, athletes and coaches are just eager to get on the field or court. “I think most of us are thankful to have the opportunity to play. I am confident that we can work something out so people can watch our team compete in-person or over livestream, but ultimately that will be determined by public safety recommendations,” Klupchak said.