Tournament Cancellation Out of Their Control
Day-to-day life has been turned on its head due to precautions being taken over the spread of the coronavirus. Sports at all levels were one of the first ways we felt the change in the U.S. In my years talking with coaches, many have said you have to learn to not worry about what you can't control.
The Blooming Prairie boys basketball team is one of many that had the balance of their season cancelled with games pending. The Awesome Blossoms won the Section 1A championship Thursday night in front of a packed house at the Mayo Civic Center.
Coach Nate Piller was looking forward to practice Friday and the excitement that would come from BP's first appearance at the state boys basketball tournament since 1966. The news of the Minnesota State High School League's decision to cancel the remainder the winter sports season trickled through the team during the morning.
On Saturday's KRFO High School Coaches Show Piller said, "We were really fired up after the game, excited for what we had accomplished. I got up yesterday (Friday) morning, getting ready for school...looking forward to seeing the boys and getting back to practice and preparing for the state tournament. Then around noon that starts to fall apart."
"You go through that whole roller coaster of emotions, just the disappointment you feel for the boys, not to get that state experience...You feel bad for the boys who have put in so much time. Obviously this is a real important thing, but it doesn't take away from the remorse that you have."
Piller is proud of the team on how they handled challenges this season and the resiliency that they showed, "I think the kids have handled the situation really well. We talk about it all the time. We try to control the things we can control. This was something that was out of our control."
Players began texting Piller before he heard official word on the cancellation, "I actually had some kids texting me before I knew about it, asking about it. Then I got official word about 20 minutes after the kids started texting me." He sent word to the team at that point with the press release he had received from the high school league.
The team met after the school day to talk and convey some normalcy, "some of the nice things that they accomplished throughout the season. We're going to get t-shirts made like we normally would for a section championship. Try to put the best spin on this that we can and try to give them the experience that they deserve."
"It's kind of weird. We're not having a pep fest for the boys at this time." Restrictions from the Minnesota Department of Health discourage large group gatherings of any type.
Before announcing the cancellation of the tournaments, the MSHSL had planned to move forward with tournament games, but was going to limit fan attendance, "We've had great fan support all season. It would have been sad not to have the fans there. It's just a different atmosphere when you have all those fans. The energy level is completely different."
Piller pointed out that the Blossoms played in a setting like that this season when they faced Goodhue at Target Center in a regular season game.
"It would probably have been a similar sized audience as for what we would have had for a state tournament this year. It was mostly parents and close family members. Once the game gets going, the focus gets to be on the game. But there are times during a game when you definitely feel that energy from the fans...At least they would have had the closure, the competition of playing in the state tournament."
The high school league announced that spring sports will continue on a limited basis through April 6. Practices and tryouts are being allowed, but teams cannot scrimmage or workout with other teams. Several spring sports had their first practices this past week and others will begin over the next couple of weeks.