The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cooke County softball and tee ball leagues are being postponed with the decision to push back the eight-week league made last week, according to Chief Operating Officer Josh Chapman.
The club is targeting the middle of May for the resumption of its leagues and each league will run concurrently with one another.
The leagues normally end in late May, but Chapman said the club will embrace the extension of leagues into June.
“It’s about getting back to that sense of normalcy,” Chapman said. “If and when we can pull it off in a safe way for our kids, we’ll do it. We want to get kids as much exposure to sports and what comes with that. It’s about how to win with grace and lose with grace along with teamwork and learning how to work hard to achieve your goals. That spans beyond times, so we want to offer that as much as possible.”
Chapman said the timeline for return was based on a bevy of factors.
“Looking at the best recommendations from local, state and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], this is the first time anybody has had to deal with this so we looked at their recommendations and that’s currently an eight-week recommendation of no gatherings over 10,” Chapman said.
Safety will always come first, Chapman said.
“The health and safety are our priority whether it’s softball or summer activities,” Chapman said. “Parents are trusting us with their kids and we have an obligation to make sure we never put a child at risk and we want to make sure we do everything we can to mitigate that risk.”
Chapman said the club was discussing postponement in the previous couple weeks.
“We knew we were going to have to push it based on how things were going,” Chapman said. “We were already planning it and now with the mandates coming down, it was out of our hands. We were thinking of being creative with running multiple fields, but as the numbers were getting smaller, it wasn’t realistic. Once it got down to 50 it was pretty much a done deal.”
While Chapman is looking forward to getting back to play in May, he said the life lessons learned are perhaps more important.
“Our sports leagues are for developing a passion, learning fundamentals and being a part of a team,” Chapman said. “It wasn’t as much about pitching or hitting, but more about sportsmanship. That’s the hard part. That’s what our leagues are all about is developing character and learning those life lessons.”
Chapman admitted it’s hard to comprehend life without sports or interaction with the kids.
“I think it’s definitely going to be different,” Chapman said. “We’re living in an unparalleled time and no one has seen something like this. To have to remove another sense of normalcy is tough. For kids to not be able to go church or hang with their friends is tough. All the things they’re not able to participate in across the spectrum is unfortunate.”
While sports are on hold, that isn’t keeping the club from trying all it can to continue shaping kids’ lives.
“We’re ramping up the virtual part so we’re using social media and working on efforts like Passport to Manhood,” Chapman said. “That’s working on kids developing healthy habits and we’re looking on how we can deliver that whether it’s virtual conference calls or whatever method and platform we need. Everything is on the table — anything we can use to connect in a safe way with our kids.
“We’re trying to respond to the needs of the community. We’re checking in on how the kids are doing and making sure they know they’re not isolated and that we still care about them.”
Whenever the leagues do get back up and running, Chapman said he has confidence his volunteer coaches will be at the ready to help the kids.
“It’s a huge opportunity for our volunteer coaches,” Chapman said. “Volunteers, not just in sports, but across everything are the backbone for everything we do. If we don’t have them, we can’t accomplish what we want. Our volunteers have been incredibly supportive and they’ve shown the willingness to be here for us and the community when the time is right. They understand why we’ve gone the route we have. They’re ready when we get the green light.”