McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Young athletes in North Texas are once again allowed to play sports.
But things are quite a bit different compared to seasons past due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday was opening day of the June Bug Blast baseball tournament, and for many players, the season.
“It’s nice to be outside. It’s nice to have baseball back in a modified fashion,” said baseball mom Bridget Stuart.
At Aviator Ballpark in McKinney, sports, socializing and safety intersect – the result of months of planning.
“We’ve recommend, don’t sit in the stands. Bring your own chairs and try to limit the number of people that come out here so that you can space yourself and be safe,” said Marc Fein of Baseball Nation. “You have to bring your own water bottles. There’s no sunflower seeds. No gum. No peanuts.”
“There’s no hugging. There’s no high five-ing going on. It’s very much a social part of our lives in my family, but that’s all kind of come to a very changed place,’ Stuart said.
Another addition is hand sanitizer dispensers. They’ve been added all throughout the dugouts and spectator areas.
Contact sports, such as football, face additional challenges in a Covid-19 world.
In Cedar Hill, temperature checks, masks, and strict sanitizing and social distancing measures are the norm. The UIL says students and coaches must remain at least ten feet apart when actively exercising. Parents said they’re necessary adjustments for peace of mind.
“We can still be out here and root for the kids and make sure they get some exercise and stay healthy,” Stuart said. “I think we all know that there’s a virus that we have to concerned about. Is it truly essential? People can make an argument about whether baseball’s essential. For my son, I feel like it is an essential activity.”
Baseball Nation is also requiring all full-time employees and concession stand workers to wear masks. It’s recommended for the coaches but not mandatory.