Catching up on lost momentum: Basketball coach and musician share thoughts on dropping COVID-19 restrictions in Newfoundland and Labrador

As a junior and senior basketball coach at Avondale, Jonathan Brown was through the roof when he heard COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted starting March 14, he said.

“There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about vulnerable sectors of our population, but I work with a vulnerable sector of our population every day, and that’s young people,” Brown said in a phone interview. “They’re not necessarily vulnerable in the same way that people are to the virus in terms of their health, but those are the other consequences that the virus and the pandemic have caused.”

There are so many different groups that it would be difficult to defend all of them, he said.

“Personally, my concern is always for young people more than anyone else,” he said.

He thinks of the children soon to be in post-secondary, thinking back to the two years they spent homeschooling, away from friends, when the sports and activities they were passionate about were not allowed or risked to be restricted. at any time.

“I would say there was a bit of desperation (to go back to playing) because for some kids who have been going through this since grade 10, they just wanted to have memories for themselves being part of a team and being with their buddies and compete before they graduate,” Brown said.

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Young people are a vulnerable population in the COVID-19 pandemic, not necessarily for health reasons, but for the other impacts on their social life and physical activity, explains basketball coach Jonathan Brown.  He is pictured with his son, Lou.  - Saltwire Network
Young people are a vulnerable population in the COVID-19 pandemic, not necessarily for health reasons, but for the other impacts on their social life and physical activity, explains basketball coach Jonathan Brown. He is pictured with his son, Lou. – Saltwire Network

Bis?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, St. John’s-based folk duo “Quote the Raven” had clear goals and aspirations, singer/songwriter Jordan Coaker said.

But as governments halted travel, festival shows were cancelled. The band’s trajectory had to immediately change tours, he said.

“It was really hard for a long time, but we realized that if this is (what) we want to do with our lives, we (have to) persevere,” he said during a telephone interview. “We made a big transition trying to be on tour all the time and getting in front of as many people as possible to (market) what we have, and that was purely the music.”

Getting out of the province is something they rely on a lot, he said, so they made it work when restrictions allowed.

“But we always felt like we were running from new restrictions,” he said.

Memories like that made Coaker take the announcement of the removal of travel and capacity restrictions with a grain of salt, he said.

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“We got to similar stages and then it closed,” he said.

And he’s split on how excited people are about attending live concerts.

“I think we’re still going to see a difference in attendance numbers in a whole host of ways,” he said. “I think sometimes it’s going to be better and I think sometimes it’s going to be worse, depending on people’s comfort level. … There will be many more factors that people will take into consideration when attending anything.

Like the impact of bad weather on attendance, the changing nature of COVID-19 is another variable Newfoundland and Labrador musicians will need to consider, he said.

“(But) we’ve always set our expectations at zero, not in a negative way,” he said. “Anything greater than zero is better than zero. By doing this, I think it kept us in good spirits, even in the most difficult times.

Jordan Coaker and Kirsten Rodden-Clarke are two local musicians who perform under the name
Jordan Coaker and Kirsten Rodden-Clarke are two local musicians who perform under the name “Quote The Raven”. Coaker is trying not to get too excited about the announcement that public health restrictions will be lifted next month. They have been in this situation before, he says. Photo courtesy of Stephen Green, Center City Media. – Saltwire Network

time wasted

When competition was halted in late December 2021, the kids were crushed, Brown said.

“We were just starting to build momentum. They played their first tournament in two years,” he said. “They were finally getting to where they needed to be and being caught up in their development, and then it was taken away from them again.”

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Brown is also a co-founder and director of Conception Bay Seeds Youth Initiatives Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce barriers to education, sports and the arts for young people in Conception Bay, where Brown grew up. .

Around Conception Bay, unlike Avalon where facilities such as the YMCA and the Paul Reynolds Community Center can be used, the only facilities that can be used are schools and outside groups were not permitted.

Now he can finally start basketball clubs for K-12 kids.

“I’m thrilled about it,” he said. “It affects children in rural NL. disproportionately (than) children in Metro (St. John’s area) due to outdoor facilities. Each practice for them is worth 10 for a child in St. John’s.

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