PAXTON — Andrew Norris thrives on the basketball court.
It’s his bread and butter, his livelihood. Over the past five seasons, he’s racked up 111 wins against just 28 losses as the head coach of the Paxton girls basketball team. He’s won at least 20 games in three straight seasons. He has three Coach of the Year awards. He led the Bobcats to the Final Four in 2018.
And now he can’t do any of it, stuck inside amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not all bad, though, Norris told the Daily News. He appreciates the extra family time he gets to spend with his wife and four daughters — a third-grader, twins in sixth grade and an eighth-grader — but he looks forward to stepping back on the court.
Whenever that may be.
So how has the social distancing affected you personally?
Other than just not being able to come to school, it’s just kinda put me to work at home. I’ve been redoing the deck at home, and that’s kinda occupied the last several weeks. We got a pretty big deck, so I’ve been stripping that off and redoing all that. I’ve done a lot of stuff with the family, which is good. I’ve heard a lot of people kind of say the same thing. We’ve eaten more meals together. We’ve gone fishing a couple times. Rode the four-wheelers. My middle school kids are learning how to pitch softball, so we’ve been out in the yard pitching a lot more. We’re just doing stuff together more, which, if there’s a good thing to come out of this, I’d say that’s good.
Out of all the postponements and cancellations between pro and college, what sport do you miss the most and why?
Without a doubt, the NCAA tournament. We have a big family (bracket) tournament. One of my brothers, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, all my family (plays) for a trophy every year, so us not being able to do that is killin’ me. And I’m probably the only person in the Panhandle that watches hockey, but I am from up North; the Capitals are always usually in first place or right up there playing for the Stanley Cup. So, it’s the end of the hockey season, and it should be into the playoffs by now and all that with them having another chance to win the Stanley is killing me, too, not being able to watch that.
Yeah, it’s kinda all bad with nothing on the TV anymore.
I guess that’s maybe another good thing. I barely flip the TV on. Maybe before I go to bed, but I’m usually out doing something other than watching TV because all I watch is sports, and there ain’t nothing on.
Have you found anything good at all or is just cold turkey?
I kinda go through Netflix a little bit, watching a couple things. I’m not gonna tell you what I watch on there ’cause some of it’s embarrassing … I don’t want my kids knowing those. Then all they’ll do is make fun of me.
What does a world without sports look like to you?
It’s tough. It really is tough. I think just not being able to play or coach, not being able to be out there with the softball kids and not being able to do the Little League and Dixie Youth, coaching teams in the Dixie Youth and not being able to be around the younger kids (is tough). I don’t necessarily miss (sports) on TV as much as I miss going out there and coaching myself, coaching my kids’ teams and the high school teams. That’s what’s tough because, as a coach, that’s what I do. What I do has been taken away. I’m just trying to come to grips with how I don’t have a game to look forward to tonight or tomorrow or next week. That’s been the toughest thing.
How has the transition to online schooling gone?
It’s fine. It’s seems to be going OK so far. I guess we’ll know more in the next week or two.
What kind of advice have you offered your athletes for dealing with the pandemic?
I don’t know. It sounds like most of them are sleeping through it. They’re catching up on sleep. As expected, they’re kinda disappointed. This is just one of them things. Hopefully, it’ll pass. You’ll move on, they’ll move on and things will be OK. I’m sure they’re catching up on Netflix, too. I’m sure they’re fine.