Another sporting tradition has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association making the tough decision to cancel its annual junior tournament.
The Horsham Junior Basketball Classic was initially scheduled for later this year but was subsequently postponed to February 2021, when Victoria was still managing the second COVID-19 wave.
Though restrictions have since eased, associated volunteer and cleaning requirements, coupled with clashing state competitions and court unavailability made the tournament unfeasible.
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"It was another tough call we've had to make this year," HABA president Jon Fitzgerald said.
"We had a few different clashes; it's the same weekend as the under-16 and under-18 state championships. (Earlier), we weren't sure if we'd send our teams there or not, but we've since decided we will."
Last year, 82 teams registered to compete in the annual tournament.
Event organisers were uncertain about whether they could host such numbers this year, with school venue hire restricted, under Department of Education directions.
"Court availability is probably the biggest (hurdle). A lot of schools are not hiring their courts out just yet, and there's been some uncertainty around whether they will be early next year," Fitzgerald said.
"And obviously, there's going to be extra costs for COVID cleaning and whatnot. So, we figured we'd just park it this year.
"We did try (to get it going), but we figure we'd just really focus on next year being the big one."
While disappointing, Fitzgerald said the cancellation offered HABA the opportunity to focus on its junior programs.
"Our priority the whole way through has been getting our juniors up and running again, then getting our rep sides going and working our way into a bit," he said.
"We're not trying to put too much pressure on everyone to hold some of these (tournaments), and we'd thought we'd be better off putting our efforts into something else.
HABA held its first round of junior tryouts at the weekend, with Fitzgerald simply grateful to be back at the stadium.
"It's unreal. After the big break we've had, you don't realise how much you miss it until you don't have it," he said.
"Being at the stadium every night of the week and seeing everybody, and just being back at it in any form is cool. It's awesome."
"So, even though we can't get everything up and running, just being back in there shooting hoops is all we want really."
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