High School Baseball and Softball Return in Iowa
Things seemed over and done with for spring sport high school seniors, one last opportunity chalked up to what could have been... However, according to a story from ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill at least one high school in Iowa has begun practicing with hopefully more to follow.
The school, Collins-Maxwell in Maxwell Iowa. According to the report, the baseball and softball teams gathered at their respective fields just before midnight counting down the minutes until the clock struck 12 a.m. and they were officially allowed to begin practicing again.
These are the first high school spring sports to return to play after about a two and a half month lay-off due to the coronavirus pandemic that has struck our nation.
There are some new rules and regulations put in place for these sports that everyone is going to have to get used to as we continue to try and navigate these uncertain times.
For example, no more sunflower seeds (that's going to be a tough one), temperature checks before each game, if a pitcher blows on his or her hand while pitching the umpire will call time and the player will have to sanitizer up before delivering a pitch. These are all according to the ESPN article.
In addition, Iowa is unique in the fact that it has separate unions/associations for the boys and girl's high school sports, and from the article, it sounds as though the season will run through and be played during the summer. The season will officially begin with games on June 15th and the executive director of the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union Jean Berger had this to say regarding the restarting of the season.
"This is a change in behavior for our kids," Berger said. "We have to teach them to wash their hands more often and sanitize. Think about how many times a ballplayer touches their face. They spit. They chew seed. Before they get into the batter's box, they have all these little idiosyncrasies. We have to retrain. This is the summer of being a mom for us -- Don't touch your face, go wash your hands."
According to the ESPN article, more than 600 baseball and softball programs will make the return to play on Monday but Collins-Maxwell got a little bit of a head start on all of them.
This is really a great sign for the rest of the country. Iowa could be the testing ground to see how things work out, how the new rules/regulations work, and if they work how will the rest of the country go about getting back to playing ball. It will probably take some trial and error but in a time of great uncertainties and confusion, it's nice to be able to hear stories of sports returning slowly but surely.