Indoor sports return to CPS

Basketball and boys swimming begin practices and competitions at Jones


Photo courtesy of Tommy Cleland '21

BASKETBALL COVID-19 STYLE Devin Boston ‘22 goes for a layup at the Eagle Nest.

On Feb. 9, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) made an announcement allowing for winter sports to return. 

CPS said that bowling, basketball, badminton, competitive cheer and dance, and boys swimming and diving practices could begin Feb. 11. 

“We started practice last Thursday, the first day we could get back on all levels freshmen through varsity, and it’s been great,” said boys basketball coach Richard Kavalauskas. “I think the guys are all excited to be back in the gym with one another.”

Many coaches and athletes were happy for the announcement. They have been waiting for CPS to allow practices for weeks, after the Illinois High School Sports Association (IHSA) allowed their sports to return on January 27th. 

“I was very excited. Unfortunately it’s been like the third or fourth time that we’ve been told it’s returning so at first it was like some hesitancy,” said Kavalauskas. 

Although the circumstances of this season aren’t perfect for many CPS sports teams, for a lot of teams, morale is high now that athletes are able to reunite with their team members. 

“While we aren’t in the physical condition or shape that I’d like a team to be going into a season, just the chance to see the guys interact with each other, joke with each other, smile, and feel a little bit normal made it the best first day of a season I’ve ever had,” said boys swimming coach Paul Anderson. 

However, it’s not just the experienced athletes participating in this new season. For some students, this is their first year participating in a sport.

“This year we have a lot of new faces around, we have three freshmen, four sophomores, two seniors and three juniors on the varsity team,” said girls basketball coach Nicholas Teich. 

The winter sports practices are following similar guidelines to fall sports last year, involving an online screener, mask mandates, and limited amounts of people in certain spaces. 

“There’s a health screener that the student athletes fill out on the way into the building, as well as the coaches,” said Teich. “There’s limitations on how many people you can have in the gym at the same time, and once you are declared like on the varsity team, you can’t practice or play in a JV game. So there’s no crossing of the groups.” 

For boys and girls basketball, these precautions are required. However, for boys swimming, precautions are made to ensure athletes are well distanced during practice, as masks are not worn in the pool.

“Prior to day one, we did a couple Google meets with the team to make sure they all kind of do the process,” said Anderson. “They have to keep their masks on before they get to their lanes, and once they get in the water, they can take their mask off.”