By Colin Falconer (@cs_rose1)
“We’re in the middle of a storm but we’ll get there, I know we will.”
The message from Game Day Manager and Covid Officer of the Glasgow Rocks, Mitchell Simpson is loud and clear despite the hardships on professional sports in the midst of the Covid pandemic.
With Covid being the third opponent that everyone has to face on and off the court this season the BBL championship is taking on a new look this year with no fans able to attend the games and covid protocols affecting players and staff it is a season like no other.
“It’s hard to put into word’s how difficult it actually was.”
“The rules are constantly adapting and changing, we have to constantly check and make sure we’re in line.”
This proved difficult at the start of the season for Mitchell and the rest of the team when accessing the Emirates Arena for training sessions and also gym access for players which is a necessity to avoid injury and maintain fitness levels, which could prove an issue if there happened to be any players missing due to Covid, which thankfully for the Rocks, they have not had that kind of issue so far.
I also spoke to Mitchell about how the protocols regarding Covid especially in relation to the fans is affecting the players and whether it really makes an impact on the way they play.
The impact in performances can be seen in the league table where Glasgow sit second from bottom of the BBL Championship after 10 games played a complete contrast from last season, where the were top of the table after 15 games played before the league was abandoned.
“The guys are a bit disjointed, and you can see that when they are trying to run plays.”
“Need to develop a bit more team chemistry, having access to those facilities would be a massive game changer for us, and we would probably be sitting around the middle of the table.”
The hope is that once the ability to go and socialise off the court is back they will be able to go from strength to strength, and with General Manager Sean Skelly in his first year in the job and Gareth Murray in his first year as head coach the team will go from strength to strength and survival at the moment is the main focus for the team.
I was also able to talk to the Chairman of the Glasgow Rocks Official Supporters Club, Peter McGuire who gave us a unique view from the fans perspective.
“It’s difficult for us as Rocks supporters but we try to do what we can, to get fan engagement.”
Without access to the games it is difficult for Rocks fans to be able to watch there beloved team play, however there are select ways in which it is possible.
“We can only see the games via the BBL or Sky, but at least we are getting to watch games which is good.”
As supporters they appreciate the difficult times that we are in and have to abide by the guidelines that are set out and if that means not being able to visit the Emirates Arena for a game unfortunately that needs to be the case, Peter does however say that it is hard as fans not being able to go to the games. The supporters club operates on Twitter to drum up the fan engagement @RocksOSC.
“I think this season is all about surviving, and now with a couple of games under our belt we are starting to look like a team.”
Peter has a similar outlook to Mitchell with his view on the team chemistry and needing more time to gel together and show that team unity which can only come over time. As they are only 10 games into the season there is time for this to happen and for the team to push on and move up the league.