ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — It was a hectic couple of days at Auburn High School, with the shooting that happened Tuesday in the parking lot, but the boys basketball games scheduled for Wednesday night went on.
The JV game was underway against Belvidere North, with the varsity game to follow. The difference was that there were no fans there. They were not allowed to attend. It was simply a precautionary decision on the part of RPS 205 to not have fans attend the games.
Auburn teacher and head coach Bryan Ott was asked about how disturbing it is to known that there was a shooting in the school parking lot during school hours.
“It’s a very discouraging thing to think about where we’re at in terms of a society right now, and we’ve got kids with guns, and the reactions to things that are probably not even very important that somebody decides is important enough to go shoot someone else,” Ott said. “It’s a really difficult thing to wrap your mind around that that’s where we’re at. You read and hear about this in other cities, and sadly you read and hear too much about it in our own city.”
The uneasiness could be felt around the school on Wednesday due to the large number of absences, according to Ott.
“I think the uneasiness would be expressed in the large number of absences today, significant number of kids out,” Ott said. “The students that were here, they seemed focused on what they were supposed to be doing, but it was a very subdued day I’ll say that.”
In regards to no fans being at the games, Ott said that while he understood why the decision was made, it was still disappointing.
“In that sense it’s like last year with COVID, right? But this is even more extreme. No fans, just us. You’re in the middle of a season and it’s been a pretty exciting season and it’s been great to have people in the crowds again,” Ott said. “So, to be playing a home game without our home fans, that’s like an unexpected curveball at this time of the season. I certainly understand and respect the reasoning behind the decision, but it is very disappointing.”