Return of adult rec sports still ‘up in the air’
As Nevada County continues to emerge from the COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandate, local adult recreation sports leagues are looking to get back on fields and courts as soon as they are permitted to do so.
The Western Nevada County Slo-pitch Softball Association, Nevada County Adult Sports Association, Nevada County Fastpitch Softball League and Gold County Senior Softball Association have all had their respective seasons interrupted or postponed by the pandemic and are waiting for approval from state and local officials to start up play again. When that approval will come is still to be determined.
“(Recreational sports) are not specifically identified in any of the stages, so we’re trying to find out from the county or state when we will get the green light,” Gold Country Senior Softball Association Board Member James McCammon said.
Grass Valley City Manager Tim Kiser said he didn’t know when recreational team sports would be permitted to compete on Grass Valley’s public fields, adding it will be determined by state and county guidelines.
It is unclear if adult recreation sports organizations will fall into Stage 3 or Stage 4 of California’s four-stage reopening plan. Currently in Stage 2, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Stage 3 could start in the coming weeks.
Slo-pitch association Commissioner Steve Loomis said he’s hoping to have his league up and going sometime in mid- to late June.
“We are concerned about people’s health and want to make sure we make the right choices,” said Loomis. “What’s probably best for us would be to start our summer season closer to July and have one season.”
The slo-pitch association offers several men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions that play on multiple diamonds in Grass Valley, including Les Eva Field at Memorial Park. It usually produces a spring and summer season, but due to the pandemic it will likely scrap the spring season, said Loomis.
“So far everyone is patiently waiting,” he said, noting there are 60 squads registered for the spring season and those teams will roll over to the summer season. “There’s only two teams that are going to drop out so far.”
Loomis added he will be allowing registered teams to schedule practices at Litton Field in Grass Valley in the coming weeks.
PROCEDURES AND PROTOCOLS
McCammon said the senior softball association, a 55-and-older league, will be implementing safety precautions for when it is permitted to return, and that it will be ready to go as soon as it gets the word.
“We have 150 (players) signed up and ready to go. They want to play yesterday,” he said. “What we have right now is a protocol from (Senior Softball USA), and our board of directors is working on extending that protocol to make sure everybody is safe and has a chance to play… There are extensive rules, procedures and protocols in place. It will be safer than going to the grocery store.”
McCammon said precautions such as disinfecting the ball, individual bats and social distancing in the dugouts and on the base paths are all part of the association’s plan to return in a safe manner.
For Rich Ramirez, who runs the Nevada County Adult Sports Association, he just wants to conclude the volleyball and basketball seasons that were already in progress when the shelter-in-place mandate went into affect.
“I just want to finish off the spring leagues, we’re not going to do a summer league, and we will start from scratch in September,” said Ramirez, noting he would like to get his spring leagues going again in early June, but is unsure if that will be possible. “It’s up in the air.”
Another obstacle to getting the adult sports association back on the court is its games are played at the Grass Valley Veterans Building, which is currently being used for COVID-19 testing.
League heads said they will be posting updates to their respective websites and social media pages as more information becomes available and return dates become more clear.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4232.
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