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by John Cardullo, sportswriter
Summer is upon us and the sleeping giant that is sports is waking up! We just need to hang tight.
As the spring becomes summer and the world of sports on every level has laid virtually dormant since mid-March, there has been an outcry from all over the world to “Get sports back!” It is known that sports do provide a release to fans and people, in general, everywhere, and as we touched on this subject several times throughout this pandemic, people need sports.
Whether they are hard core fans, or just people who are mildly interested, or they fall somewhere in between, sports provide a distraction that is needed by everyone, especially in the times we are living in, more than ever before. So, in following the CDCs guidance, the Rhode Island Department of Health has issued its guidelines for everyone to get out and move again.
Although non-essential visitors, spectators or volunteers are limited, coaches and players will be allowed to be together in this format for adult sports.
Social distancing is highly recommended and encouraged. This should be little or no problem for sports such as golf, tennis, running, and biking, as all are considered low risk activities and sports. However, sports that have a certain amount of physical contact are still banned in the Phase II we are still in. Sports such as basketball, soccer, and hockey are still off limits. For now, baseball and softball are limited to practice only and there can be no intermingling on the field of play at this time.
Social distancing when it comes to team sports is virtually impossible and even with the precaution of wearing a mask when competing would not be practical for most sports. In addition to the requirements that are needed to get us to Phase III, self-quarantine is also mandatory for those out of state athletes or those who exhibit signs of illness or have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. In addition, handwashing and sanitizing should be done on a frequent basis.
During Phase II, common areas will be required to be cleaned frequently, and communal areas such as lockers will remained closed. The same requirements will be in effect for shared objects such as balls, bats, racquets. Any gym equipment such as weights, bars and electrical training machinery will be required to be sanitized before and after use. Individuals are encouraged to bring their own equipment. In this phase the focus for team sports is encouraged to be working on drills while maintaining social distancing as we move to Phase III or IV.
It is the hope that when we enter Phase IV we will get back to the “old-new-normal” and the precautions taken to get us to this point may appear to have been “painstakingly S-L-O-W, but if you think of what could happen if the virus continues to spread on it’s deadly course and is able to mutate, it becomes more and more of a minor inconvenience to us all. It has been unfair to those athletes who compete on a high level (remember the Olympics have been postponed), the college and high school seniors, and to everyone whose life has been derailed.
The choices have not been popular, and they don’t seem fair, but they have been necessary for the well being for all of us and in time we all hope that all these rules and requirements just to leave the house, go to work, go shopping, go socializing, or get back on the athletic field again will seem in hindsight an unpleasant memory that turned out to be a blip in our life, and believe that we will move on to bigger and better things. But in the meantime, follow the rules, they are here to keep us all safe no matter how much we don’t like them, and we will see each other on the other side of this.
For guidelines on adult sports, effective 6/5/2020: