With The Bahamas under lockdown due to COVID-19 Emergency Orders set in place by the Government of The Bahamas, back in June, the HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) Labor Day Basketball Tournament was earmarked to take place during the days leading up to the Emancipation Day holiday weekend this coming August.
However, since the orders were lifted and the international borders were opened earlier this month, The Bahamas, particularly Grand Bahama, has seen a drastic spike in COVID-19 cases. That prompted the Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to place the island under a two-week lockdown.
As a result, HOYTES Founder Gladstone “Moon” McPhee made the decision to officially cancel the tournament.
The Labor Day Tournament is the organization’s biggest AAU style tournament of the year, which invites basketball program from around the country for five days of non-stop action.
“We have to cancel it. There’s no if, ands or buts about it,” he said.
“We spoke to some coaches and the money is hard to come by and everything else. We just have to deal with it.
“We know the kids want to play and all sorts of other things, but sometimes you just can’t do it. You just can’t let it get you down. I sent a text out to some of the kids I work with in the morning time.
“I told them if you have a ball and a yard or somewhere you could dribble, just work on your ball handling. Get out and run, and, just don’t get out of shape It's easy to get out of shape, but it’s hard to get back into shape. Of course, I told them just to stay positive,” McPhee stated further.
The two-week lockdown, which commenced this past Thursday evening (July 23) has been a setback for many on the island. However, McPhee believes now it’s just something he and many will just have to endure until there is a clear way forward.
“It put us as coaches in a funny situation but what can we do about it? You can cry, but it is what it is. It’s more than just about the kids in Grand Bahama. This (COVID-19) is all over.
“All we can do is hope for the best.”
McPhee also sent out encouraging words to the number of athletes from the island who were set to travel to the United States to play basketball for their respective collegiate program. He urged them, also, to remain positive.
“Stay positive and keep working. The way the situation is now, their only option at the moment is for them to workout at home. They can only hope to get some time and find some coaches who can work with them and get them ready to go off to college.
“It’s a situation we didn’t expect but all we can do is deal with it,” he concluded.