COVID-19 in France puts Bridgewater’s NM2 league on pause

The COVID-19 situation in France has escalated again and that has thrown a wrench in the basketball career of professional player Dominick Bridgewater, as his 2020-2021 season with Sapela Basket 13 in the Nationale Masculine 2 (NM2) league has been put on a break since October 13.

Bridgewater, who is on a loan from For-Sur-Mer Provence Byers Club, was set to play US Aubenas on Saturday, October 17, when COVID-19 brought a pause to their game like it did back in March. It was a home game for Sapela in Salon-de-Provence, France. NM2 is the fourth highest professional basketball league in France.

“We received notice ahead of time that our place is not in a good state so things might be getting closed down for some time,” Bridgewater said. “As of now, no word on that because things [are] still a bit bad.”

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to give a televised address to the nation tonight which is rumored to be centered around possible restrictions as the country looks to fight the second wave. Based on his speech, the basketball community with make a decision on the season.

On Sunday, France recorded its highest single-day positive cases with more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases. As a country, France has a total of 1,242,923 confirmed cases and 35,575 deaths. 

Bridgewater is in Marseille, France, where there is a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in place. He said the situation is not all good as cases go up daily. Residents are wearing masks, sanitizing and social distancing.

The guard also said he is trying to stay positive as he keeps working hard in practice every day as if there is a game coming up. Though the season is on pause, like back in March, the Bahamian said it does not feel the same way as it did back then.

“We actually have hope to play again with it being paused, because when it’s canceled it’s nothing you could do,” Bridgewater said. “I’m keeping a positive mindset, staying in contact with my family and friends. It’s out of my control or anybody’s control. Some people take it differently, but me, I have been working on bettering myself and not just letting the time pass.”

The season was young before it halted as Sapela 13 was undefeated in its four games. Its last game was an away matchup against Basket Club Sorgues, where the team was victorious with a 96-79 scoreline. In its first game of the season, it took down La Rovoire Challes Challes Basket 87-72. Against Cannet Cote D’Azur Basket, Sapela won 90-74. Sapela took advantage of West Lyonnais Basket with a 93-72 trouncing.

In the standings, it tallied all eight of its possible points so far and sits in the sixth position with two games in hand behind top seed Pontoise ULR Basket, which is undefeated with six wins.

The former Anatol Rodgers Senior High School product has been sensational so far this season for Sapela, averaging a double-double with 17 points per game and 11.5 assists a contest. He has also shown that he has active hands-on defense as he is averaging four steals a contest.

He said the season was going well for them and when it restarts, they are going to do something special. For now, his short stay has been amazing, and he hopes it continues.

His goal this season is to win the championship and move to a better and higher level.

It has been a good year for the Bahamian as he got a chance to move from the junior ranks of the Bahamas national team to the senior side back in February. He was the youngest player on the team and was instrumental in Team Bahamas’ historic 76-59 victory against Mexico in the first window of the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers. He finished that game with 15 points.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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