MY PITCH

Taking the first step

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 6/17/20

Last week, I wrote about how it felt like we were inching our way closer to the start of sports. Little did I know how close we actually were. Local Little Leagues have been working their way back to the diamond in the past week now that we are in Phase

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in
MY PITCH

Taking the first step

Posted

Last week, I wrote about how it felt like we were inching our way closer to the start of sports. Little did I know how close we actually were.

Local Little Leagues have been working their way back to the diamond in the past week now that we are in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening. Although not all leagues will be playing this summer, such as Johnston and Cranston East, many are, including Warwick North, Warwick Continental and Cranston Western.

Practices begin this week and games will begin at the start of Phase 3, which is slated for the second week of July after the holiday weekend.

Other leagues have also been trying to get permits to start practicing, such as Warwick Firefighters Soccer. Overall, it seems like we will be having sports at some point in July, and that is fantastic news that hopefully will be Step 1 toward full athletic normalcy.

Credit to these leagues … they could have easily thrown in the towel and waited until the fall or punted on a season altogether. This is no slight toward the leagues doing so, every league and town is different and so are resources.

However, for the leagues that have been persistent and have worked hard, much credit to you. I am happy to see kids get to reconnect with their friends in person and play the sport they love.

Now, of course there will be restrictions, but it only makes sense. It will likely be some time before sports are totally back to normal in terms of crowd size and safety precautions. There will probably be some systems implemented that will turn out to be permanent.

Either way though, I am happy and excited to see this first step finally taken. We have a few more to take, but finally, we are starting to see some light.

Am I concerned about the kids and families’ health and well-being, as well as a dreaded potential second wave which has been brought up time and time again? Of course I am, and I am all for strict policies upon return. But in reality, experts are projecting a potential two-year window of us fighting the disease, so unless we are willing to wait two full years, we have to start somewhere.

Although we are not completely out of the woods and leagues will have to get final approval from the state, we finally have a true, concrete reason to be optimistic about sports. We are approaching the home stretch.

It will be interesting to see how things play out for fall sports now that it looks like there will be a summer.

I’m hoping by September, we will be in a place where sports can get back to resembling the norm. I’m not optimistic that that will be the case, but at the same time, I was not optimistic of there being a summer season two weeks ago.

Even if there are restrictions still in place and new regulations that need to be abided by, we need high school and college sports in the fall.

States are now preparing plans for kids to go back to school, which is obviously the biggest hurdle needed to overcome, but if we are able to safely send kids back into the classroom, why not the field to compete?

I am not trying to jump ahead here or seem greedy, I am appreciative that sports are coming back (likely) as early as July. I do not take my health or any part of the situation for granted. But if we have a summer season and kids are back in the classroom by September, I don’t see a reason why we can’t field fall sports. Kids deserve their sports. Safety is the biggest priority, but let’s keep the ball rolling in a positive direction.

In terms of national sports, progress is also being made … well, not including Major League Baseball, which I sounded off on last week.

Not to dive completely down that rabbit hole again, but the players are still not budging in the MLB’s negotiations to return to play. At this moment, if I had to guess, I would say there will not be a season and this ordeal could even spread into next season. That sport and league needs a major overhaul, and I think we are seeing the early stages of that happening.

In terms of the other sports, the NBA is trying to get its teams to station in Florida and bang out a playoff bracket. The NHL is following a similar path, and the NFL is planning on a totally normal season. Good luck, NFL, although you are my favorite professional league to follow, there is no chance that you are cramming 65,000 fans into stadiums by fall. Stick to empty stadiums, take the loss, and call it a day and give the fans something to look forward to regardless.

That is kind of my sentiment on sports in general, pro or local. Something is better than nothing, even if it means with added restrictions, in-depth precautions, what have you. I still am seeing people complaining about these restrictions, even in non-sports related matters.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel horrible for these small businesses that are hurting, I feel awful for those that are unemployed … but I also feel awful for those sick with COVID-19 and the families of those who are sick, especially in the dire cases.

I’ve been saying it all along, we need to make the most of the cards that we are dealt. Easy for me to say considering there are people much worse off than I am, but in terms of sports for example, let’s take what we can get and enjoy what we can.

sports, My Pitch

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment