CORONAVIRUS VOICES: South Side boys basketball coach J.J. Foster

We continue today with our series called CORONAVIRUS VOICES, giving area coaches, players and others a platform to share their stories, thoughts and advice during the pandemic. 

Today, we welcome Coach J.J. Foster of South Side High School.

The Big Reset…The New Normal

During the first half of my life, it was go to school all day then go to practice. Then it turned into go to work all da, then go to practice. For the duration of my lifetime, that was my world. Whether it was me as a player, as a coach or simply as a father attending one of my kids sporting events, it all came to a screeching halt this March 2020.

There were no open gyms or post season workouts to worry about. There was no going to support my guy, Coach Bruce [Stephens], in Regionals. My plans to get back into AAU this summer, they all had become irrelevant due to the “reset” button being pushed and everyone was forced to stay at home. COVID-19 shut down the world and our community was not an exception.

I found myself working remotely at my job with the Fort Wayne Housing Authority and I found myself with a change in responsibilities regarding the young men on my basketball team.

The focus changed from post season workouts to making sure they were staying on top of their schoolwork since they were working from home as well. We also wanted to make sure everyone was in a good place mentally as the abrupt change in a youth’s daily schedule and a detour from their dreams could have some adverse effects. In addition to the members on my basketball team, I had to deal with this very thing within the walls of my home own home. My son, who played college basketball for two years. had hopes of joining another school and continuing his basketball career this fall, but the “reset” put an end to the campus visits that he was supposed to make.

Whether I am a father or a coach, these are times of angst for young people and they are looking for reassurance and comfort that everything will be OK.

My message now is the same as it is during game preparation: we can only worry about the things that we can control and everything else will take care of itself. In life, you find the good in the bad and during this Big Reset – our New Normal – it has allowed me to reflect on life and understand what is really important.  I talk to my family daily. I speak to past teammates, both high school and college, regularly. Texts to and from my friends are enough to keep me busy for hours. My appreciation of being outside for a simple bike ride cannot be measured nor can the newly found expressions of emotions for everyone in my circle.  Life has changed, but there is still life to live and after this is all said and done, make it a point to come out a better you.

John J. Foster (J.J.)

South Side Boys Basketball Coach

Fort Wayne Housing Authority – Social Services Manager

Children’s book author


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