As we all know the novel Coronavirus has shifted the lives of many, some more than others.
Bruce Taylor, a two-time graduate at Grambling State, is excited to begin preparing the relaunch of his travel youth basketball team in the new year.
Taylor earned his bachelor’s in C.I.S. in 2007 and a masters in criminal justice in 2018.
Taylor said his non-profit organization, Swamp Life Pelicans LLC, a traveling youth basketball operation based in Monroe, cancelled its season due to Covid concerns.
“The pandemic has hurt my non-profit organization tremendously,” he said. “Covid-19 kept me from expanding my organization. This past summer I was on the verge of having three teams: a 14 and under boys team, a 12 and under boys team, and a 13 and under girls team. I lost players because of parents’ concerns of their child catching the virus.”
Conditioning practices had already begun before the outbreak, preparing young athletes for an early season; which all came to a halt in early March of this year.
After being quarantined for a couple of months, Taylor decided to pick up those training and conditioning practices while following safety guidelines recommended by the CDC.
“So I started training and conditioning practices with Coach Joe Byrd, owner of M.A.D.E. Training,” he said. “He was going to be my organization's strength and conditioning coach. So, I was also able to build relationships with other like minds, but wasn’t able to get to it. I had a player catch Covid. He was around the team, but no others were diagnosed. But it solidified my decision on not going through with summer play.”
Taylor has a lot on his plate.
He owns a lawn service business, Trap’s Lawn and Landscaping. He is the school technologist at Swayze Elementary in Monroe and has been conducting one-on-one basketball lessons over the summer. Still, he longs for his roster and a tournament schedule for the upcoming season. Taylor says he had a major increase in business for his lawn service since the pandemic. So that was an up side to the outbreak, considering his non-profit had to take a seat for the season.
Ready for his athletes to perform and showcase their talent on the court, Taylor will be making preparations to hold a tryout session at the beginning of the new year, scouting the area’s most elite players (ages 12 and under). There are a few spots open on the team, and due to safety concerns Taylor is looking to capacitate a team of 10 to 12 players.
Taylor himself is also no stranger to performing and showcasing.
While an undergraduate at GSU, he was a part of “Chocolate Thunder”, the favorable and in tune drumline of the Tiger Marching Band (2000-2002). During his tenure the band was under the direction of Dr. EdwinThomas, who also provided the drumline’s nickname. Ironically, “Thunder” is literally Taylor’s middle name.
Taylor only has a couple of months to prepare for a new normal in competitive basketball for his young athletes.
The coming months will be spent conducting a plan to provide a safe, fun and rewardable experience for players when they return in the new year.