Chatham youth basketball will start in January with significant changes

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 11/24/20

PITTSBORO — Youth basketball returns to Chatham County in January, but there’s a twist.

In keeping with its generally cautious strategies to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the …

The News + Record is worth reading!

We’re all about Chatham County, and we welcome you to our site. You can view up to 1 stories each month, then registration is required.

Please sign in below if you have an account. If not, please register here to get an account and an additional 3 stories each month. It’s easy and takes just a minute.

Our staff works hard to bring good journalism, writing and story-telling to Chatham County. HELP US! You can get the News + Record mailed to you weekly by subscribing here.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Chatham youth basketball will start in January with significant changes

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access: $3.99/month

Print + Digital: $5.99/month

Posted
Updated:

PITTSBORO — Youth basketball returns to Chatham County in January, but there’s a twist.

In keeping with its generally cautious strategies to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chatham County Parks and Recreation Department is modifying the program significantly from its traditional format, which centers around regular-season games.

Instead, the 2021 program will focus on “individual skill development, small-group skill development and limited scrimmages,” according to a county news release last Thursday. Co-ed participants — ages 6 through 18 — will be grouped into “age-based, self-contained pods” at five regional locations.

If this language sounds familiar, it’s because the North Carolina High School Athletic Association has struck virtually the same tone. Men’s and women’s basketball teams at member high schools are scheduled to start their regular seasons with official practices on Dec. 7 and official games on Jan. 4.

Currently, though, teams are limited to offseason “skill sessions,” where players must wear masks while working out individually or in small pods. They can share equipment — namely, basketballs — in those small pods but cannot make contact with teammates. Teams also can’t scrimmage in the offseason.

Chatham County’s youth basketball program, which will begin Saturday, Jan. 23, isn’t that restrictive. There’s no mask mandate, of course, and the department plans to offer limited scrimmages.

But there are plenty of similarities to the NCHSAA — which makes sense, since both groups are ultimately government entities that take their cues from the state Department of Health and Human Services. (Current DHHS guidance doesn’t recommend playing basketball, a “red” sport in that participants can’t maintain social distancing while they play it.)

“While the coronavirus is still present in the community, we have been very thoughtful about keeping safety our top priority, involving the Public Health Department and county leadership with each step of our planning,” Tracy Burnett, Chatham County’s parks and recreation director, said in the release. “During these challenging and uncertain times, we continue to search for ways to keep our residents active while providing the safest programs and activities as possible.”

The season will run from Jan. 23 through late February, and participants will attend 10 practices at their respective regional locations and within their age group. Available locations to choose from include Horton Middle School and Chatham Grove Elementary School in Pittsboro, J.S. Waters School in Goldston, North Chatham Elementary School in Chapel Hill and Silk Hope School in Siler City.

Registration for the program opened Nov. 19 and will continue through Dec. 21; it costs $40 for Chatham County residents and $50 for non-residents. Participants can register online at chathamnc.org/parks-recreation but must mail or submit their payment to the department in person.

And, as the county website noted: “This program (will remain) subject to change due to NCHSAA, NCDHHS or Chatham County guidelines.”

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here