The shouts and the clack of bat on ball may sound like a typical Little League game, but it looks a bit different during a pandemic.
“In the old days the umpire would be behind the plate, and now he’s behind the pitcher,” said Mike Noto, Stamford American Little League president.
We depend on your support. Donate to Connecticut Public today.
Noto said only three out of the 11 players are allowed in the dugout in an effort to promote social distancing. The team is checking players’ temperatures, and parents sign a waiver saying they will, too.
“This is our first game,” said Noto. “We’ve had a couple scrimmages and practices. We lost about a third of the kids. A third of the parents were ready, which is understandable. But so far, it’s been going great. It’s really been good for kids to see their friends and get back out there.”
Basketball coach Drew Carothers agrees with Noto. Even though sports might have new rules, it’s the routine kids are enjoying.
“[The] biggest part of this now is getting the kids some sort of normalcy,” said Carothers. “I think that’s the biggest positive so far -- it’s not a true basketball game just yet, but it’s normalcy.”
His summer camp runs two hours in Bridgeport. The gym’s doors and windows stay open and the game is played a little differently.
“We’re not setting screens, we aren’t taking charges,” said Carothers. “Within the limitations of the state they are able to get up and down the floor a little bit. You just have to be smart about the way you’re handling, and the kids need to be educated on everything, and that’s something we’ve been very detailed with them.”
Janet Gangaway’s daughter Meghan is entering her sophomore year at East Hartford High School. Her daughter’s goal is to swim for a college. Gangaway couldn’t wait for her daughter to dive back in.
“Some were working with tethers in their home pools and doing what they can, but it was just not the same,” said Gangaway. “They were missing swimming next to their friends, the little competition there and all the socialization -- just 6 feet apart.”
Her daughter’s team has over 100 swimmers, and almost all have returned.
“These kids needed this, desperately,” said Gangaway.
For most teams, if children have traveled, they cannot come back to practice for 14 days. No one knows what’s in store for a fall season or whether there will even be one. For now, they are just happy to be back.