With uncertainty surrounding them, the Movin’ Mavs held what would be their last in-person team meeting March 13 in the Physical Education Building.
Two days later, senior Clarence McCarthy-Grogan flew back home to Darwin, Australia. He was then placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine — orders from the Australian prime minister for everyone arriving in the country in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“Everything just changed so quickly; everything happened so quickly,” McCarthy-Grogan said.
Just a few days prior, McCarthy-Grogan, along with the rest of the Movin’ Mavs, was preparing to compete in the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. Now he was back home in Australia, 14 hours away.
After the season was canceled, keeping up with online classes and assignment deadlines became his sole concern. The large time difference did create some challenges, though.
Head coach Doug Garner said he told his athletes to use this time wisely, focus on their academics and the transition to online instruction.
“Everything has dropped off the face of the earth right now for these guys,” Garner said. “They're young, and being a student athlete is who they are, and when they lose both of those things, I know there's some confusion.”
A member of the Australian National Wheelchair Basketball team, McCarthy-Grogan will continue to train for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“We still want to make sure we maintain what we've worked hard for, and we don't want to lose that,” McCarthy-Grogan said. “It's gonna be tough for sure, but I think mentally it's also a really good thing for us athletes.”
Senior Fabian Romo, who was scheduled to try out for a roster spot with Team USA Paralympics before it was postponed, continues to train while self-isolating.
Through the use of an app, his strength and conditioning coach assigns specific workouts to players representing the U.S. national team.
She builds each player’s workout based on what equipment they have available at home. For example, if a person has access to a pull-up bar or a set of dumbbells, she would modify the workout to center around those resources.
Without access to a basketball court or training facilities, practicing on fundamentals like shooting requires certain adjustments to maintain effective results.
When practicing drills he uses a basketball to imitate the act of shooting to help keep his form in check.
Romo displayed one of his better shooting performances of the season against the University of Missouri back in November where he shot 11-14 from the 3-point line and scored 41 points.
Romo said it's been tough to train without the wheelchair he uses specifically for basketball, which is in storage at UTA.
“I'm still gonna give it my all,” Romo said.
With the Tokyo Paralympic Games postponed until 2021, McCarthy-Grogan said he puts everything in perspective while understanding the seriousness of events that have led to the new normal of life.
“As an athlete, I wish it could still go on, but at the same time, there’s so much more to life than sport,” he said.