CORONAVIRUS VOICES: Woodlan boys basketball coach John Baker

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 John Baker of Woodlan.

From Basketball to Quarantine

First off, my thoughts and prayers are with those that have been deeply affected by this COVID-19 Pandemic. Basketball has always been something that is important to me and many others, but it pales in comparison to the importance of the health and safety of others.

As the coach of the Woodlan High School Boys’ Basketball Team, our 2019-2020 season concluded on March 6th with a loss in the IHSAA Sectional Semifinals. Within the next week, a global pandemic was declared and schools were being cancelled for the foreseeable future. So, I went from game planning with my assistant coaches on how to beat the Leo Lions to game planning with my wife, Suzie, on how to navigate this uncharted territory with our family.

Here are some changes that I have experienced in my transition from living in fast forward as a high school basketball coach to the full-time, stay at home parent of a 9 year old, 7 year old, 5 year old, 18 month old and newborn.

During basketball season, game nights make family meals impossible. On those evenings, our kids would likely have fast food, then follow that up with raiding the Woodlan High School concession stand. These current times have afforded us with the opportunity to sit down as a family and eat three meals a day together, while engaging in conversations and laughter.

John and Suzie Baker and their children. Photo courtesy of John Baker

When in-season, I look to watch film during any downtime throughout the day. That includes watching film after we get the kids to bed. During the quarantine, basketball film has been replaced by “family movie night.” My wife and I have allowed for our kids to stay up a bit later, pop some popcorn
and watch some of the movies my wife and I deem as “classics” (The Sandlot, Cheaper By the Dozen and Back to the Future to name a few).

My regular exercise routine has changed. While the season is going on, I will get up before school and go for a run on the elliptical or a brisk jog outside. I have found this to be a purposeful and peaceful start to the day. On many days during the quarantine, this routine has been replaced by a family bike ride.

At some point, this new reality will come to an end. We will get back to the grind with a new-found appreciation for the things we have always taken for granted. Down the road, I am certain that I will look back at this time with gratefulness for the opportunity we have been given to spend time as a family unit.

I would like to close with a quote from the fictional character Coach Tom Baker from the aforementioned movie, Cheaper By the Dozen. This quote really strikes a chord with me during the quarantine. Coach Baker says, “I promise you. We will be a happier, stronger family.”

John Baker

Woodlan High School

The Baker Family

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