by Victoria Cazares
Pueblo High School girls’ basketball head coach, Ismael Galindo, has been coaching at Pueblo for nine years. This year, Coach Galindo and the Pueblo team have been required to follow a number of rules due to the pandemic.
To stay safe, players must remain six feet apart and wear masks at all time, rules that the district enforces. Galindo said that he follows all of the rules and safety regulations to ensure his players stay safe throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
“The challenges have been hard, but they are requirements if we want to have a season,’’ said Galindo.
COVID-19 testing occurs once every week or every two weeks for players and coaches. Mr. Miguel Sandoval, who is known to most as “Coach Miggs”, Pueblo’s athletic director, enforces these requirements. If a player tests positive, the entire team has to follow district rules and guidelines—that is, the entire team has to sit out for no less than two weeks.
Galindo said, “I don’t like getting tested because it’s really uncomfortable, but it’s necessary.’’
However, Galindo is not letting this pandemic affect his coaching. He is here to do his job and make his players better. All he wants this year is to have a season.
“I feel bad watching everyone struggle, running around in masks. It bugs me,” he said.
Learning and following all the new rules has been a challenge for coach. Checking temperatures every day and printing out the daily COVID-19 screening sheet is something he and his players just have to get used to daily.
Coach said, “We have to follow all Arizona Interscholastic Association and TUSD rules, and now we have to follow all the COVID-19 rules.”
The seniors graduating this year are the last group of girls who advanced to the championship in 2018. Coach wants to make their last year special by hanging up their banners in both gyms, giving them their jersey frames and putting a picture of them in the trophy case.
“Senior Night might be earlier in the season due to COVID-19,” Galindo said. “I want to make sure the seniors have a ceremony even if it means they have to do it outside, one family at a time. Some of these girls have played for me all four years at Pueblo, and that means a lot.”
One senior player, JaeDee Lopez, said, “Not having a normal senior year has really affected me. Sometimes I lost motivation for everything, including playing basketball. But, I’m going to keep my confidence up and make the most of this situation.”
Another senior, Alexis Enriquez, said, “Whenever life seems difficult or things keep changing, the best thing to do is to keep moving forward and keep positive. That’s what I’ve been doing, and that’s what keeps me going.”
Senior Getsemani Cazares said, “For a while, we weren’t even sure if we were going to have a season. Last year, when I was a junior, I couldn’t play due to an injury, so it’s really important to me that I get to play before I graduate.”
Galindo is really looking forward to playing against their new division. They are working hard to make this season successful no matter what teams they play.