It’s at last “game on” and local youth outdoor sports organizations are taking full advantage with the intention to extend their seasons.
Last week’s provincial re-opening plan included the immediate return of game action for outdoor sports. If COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to trend in the right direction, indoor sports, such as box lacrosse, can play games too, starting June 15 while as many as 50 spectators will be welcomed back to outdoor games.
It’s a day organized sports has long waited for.
Games haven’t been played since last November when surging COVID numbers introduced further health restrictions and put all sports into practice-only mode for nearly seven months. Organizations anticipated last Tuesday’s announcement by preparing game schedules weeks before.
“Our executive started preparing of what we can do on the fields after the circuit breaker ended and what it potentially would look like. What we received (in the announcement) was more than what we thought we would be getting so we’re thrilled,” said Delta Fastpitch Association president Lisa Brown-Rooke. “We have official games scheduled for Monday and all our fields are going to be used, which is amazing.”
The Ladner Minor Baseball Association also was ready for games being allowed again. Schedules will be activated this week in most age group divisions. Only LMBA’s tiered rep teams are waiting for permission to play opponents outside the organization.
“We hit the ground running. We are ready to go because we have awesome division managers that were sensing something was coming down the line,” said LMBA president Todd Allan.
The big question now is how far will the 2021 season go?
LMBA has sent out a survey to parents to see the interest in not only offering a summer ball (all-star) program but continuing in-house games until early August. Typically the season would be over for many at the end of June but this is about making up for lost time which included the 2020 house season being completely wiped out.
“Our goal is to get many kids playing as possible. If there is an interest, we will run two parallel seasons,” continued Allan. “For example the Mosquito (Division) kids that aren’t playing on the summer ball team can continue to play games twice a week until August.
“Everything will be free. Parents haven’t been able to come and watch. Everyone is getting tired of practicing. It’s almost been two years (of no game action) and this is welcomed news and we’re going to make sure everyone gets a bang for their buck.”
Brown-Rooke says there is a good possibility the softball season will now include provincial championships in late summer for the association’s rep teams. The house divisions will also feature the usual year-end weekend wrap tournaments starting at the U8 level.
“Our grassroots coordinator Paula (Kolisnek) has been reaching out to our house teams to see if they are interested in extending their seasons. There is certainly excitement that our ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams will have provincials at the end of the day,” she added.
The box lacrosse season would potentially feature two weeks of game action before limited spectators would be welcomed into the arenas starting July 1. Dry floor availability will play a big part in potentially extending the season with ice installation typically taking place in most venues sometime in August.