By Jackson Russell
For the first time in eight months, RB Robson Stadium opened to Wallan’s young basketballers on the weekend as the club started its summer junior domestic season.
Wallan Basketball has a series of COVID-19 protocols in place – including using specific entry and exit doors for each court, QR code contact tracing, mandatory mask wearing and social distancing – to ensure the season can go ahead.
The club also started tryouts for its Victorian Junior Basketball League teams on Sunday, with a strong turnout.
President Gary O’Brien said the feeling at the stadium and on social media was incredible.
“I couldn’t be there Saturday, but to be sitting at home seeing photos and getting messages, it was absolutely emotional,” he said.
“It’s been a long eight months to keep this place alive and to get kids back on the court was unbelievable.
“I might be a bit optimistic, but I think things are going to work out.”
O’Brien said there were no issues with the protocols, with everyone happy to be involved.
“I think people realised that whether you’re for or against any of the rules, it’s about access to the stadium and this is what we have to do to play basketball so I think that attitude has been really good,” he said.
With only 150 people allowed in the stadium across its three courts at any one time, only one parent, guardian or family member can watch their child play.
“The big thing we’re really feeling the pain of is siblings are not allowed and as a community club, that’s the one the hurts us the most,” O’Brien said.
“Everything else we’re prepared to put up with but we’re hanging out for the next easing of restrictions so we can have all the brothers and sisters getting involved as well because that’s how we get the next generation of basketballers involved.
“Parents are feeling that too and we’re very wary of it.”
Senior basketball resumes at Wallan this weekend, with tryouts for the club’s Country Basketball League and Big V teams, in the hope that a Big V season starts in March.
“We’re really hoping, for the Big V season, that’s going to be as per normal because that’s not until March and we should be able to have a proper build up into the new season,” O’Brien said.
“It’s going to take this summer domestic season, until the end of term one, to get everything fully operational and back to normal.
“We’re all going to make mistakes, we’ve all got to be tolerant but hopefully after Christmas, things will start getting back to normal and feeling good again.”