Decatur youth basketball likely cancelled for this winter

Decatur's city basketball courts have been shuttered for months with the rims removed or, in this case, covered in plastic mesh. Now it appears the city's indoor winter basketball leagues will get wiped out entirely for 2020-21 due to COVID 19. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
Decatur's city basketball courts have been shuttered for months with the rims removed or, in this case, covered in plastic mesh. Now it appears the city's indoor winter basketball leagues will get wiped out entirely for 2020-21 due to COVID 19. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

Decatur’s youth basketball leagues have been a city staple since at least 1958 when the Decatur Recreation Center opened. But even before then, probably dating to the 1920s and mostly through the popular Gray Y program where every Decatur elementary school had a team, basketball has been played wherever there’s been space to erect a hoop.

Last spring all the basketball rims were removed from city courts because of COVID-19. Now it appears, for the first time ever, the leagues run by Decatur’s Active Living department will become yet another pandemic victim.

Active Living Director Greg White said he’s currently not taking any registrations for boys and girls hoops, which usually starts practices in mid-November and runs through mid February. White added he might re-evaluate in January, but with COVID cases escalating, winter basketball in Decatur is looking pretty grim. White said there is a chance the 2020-21 basketball season could resurface in some format next spring depending of course on the virus.

Stacy Green, Active Living’s legendary program supervisor, has run the basketball leagues since the early 1990s. Basketball has always been something of flagship activity for the department, but according to numbers provided by Green, its popularity has exploded in the last decade.

In 2010 (2010-11 season) there were 340 boys’ and girls’ basketball players and 51 coaches. By 2018 those figures had more than doubled to 745 players and 100 coaches. There was a slight dip in 2019-20 with 724 players.

Active Living is, however, holding a series of outdoor conditioning sessions at Ebster Field. The conditioning applies to all sports and includes stretching, running and some strength conditioning. Each conditioning group has 10 to 12 athletes, with sessions running 5-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information contact Green at stacy.green@decaturga.com.