Youth sports send out mixed message for summer of 2020

By Kirk Winter

Youth sports send out mixed message for summer of 2020

Three youth sporting bodies updated their COVID-19 protocols this week and made three very different decisions.

The Victoria-Brock Baseball Association cancelled their 2020 summer season, Ontario Soccer extended its prohibition on play until July 1, and Ontario Rugby has started to make noises about a return to play protocol.

Victoria Brock Baseball, who are responsible for youth recreational baseball across Kawartha Lakes and north Durham, shared the following with their players and parents via email.

“We as an executive, have been in communications with City of Kawartha Lakes and Brock Parks and Recreation and there is no news when ball diamonds will be opening up. Premier (Doug) Ford has extended the state of emergency until June 2 and schools are closed till June 1.”

The VBBA executive continues, “After discussion of rule changes that would have to be implemented to ensure the safety of all players, coaches, umpires and families it has been decided with deep regret to cancel the ball season for 2020.”

The executive concludes, “This was a tough decision, but one we feel is necessary.”

A second local baseball association has been surprisingly quiet about COVID-19 protocols this month.

The Kawartha Cubs representative youth baseball program plays under the umbrella of EOBA, the Eastern Ontario Baseball Association. EOBA has not made a public statement since early in April, and their website still talks of a COVID-19 shutdown that was supposed to be revisited May 1.

The EOBA website promises, “We will be proactive in informing our players, volunteers and baseball families on all upcoming protocols and required actions as they become available.”

Attempts to contact with EOBA or the Kawartha Cubs have proven unsuccessful.

Ontario Soccer put forward to their stake holders the following, “Ontario Soccer…is assessing operations and deciding cancellations and postponements on a month-to-month basis as the pandemic continues to unfold.”

Their press release continues, “Ontario Soccer is announcing that all sanctioned in-person soccer events and activities for the month of June have been cancelled or postponed.”

The provincial umbrella group is still encouraging players to register for some kind of abbreviated 2020 season, “so that districts, clubs and academies can be fully prepared to kick off the season (when it is) announced.”

The release finishes with the following caveat, “Please note that due to some municipal restrictions, playing fields may remain closed beyond June, therefore some district associations may have to issue notices of cancellation beyond June.”

Rugby Canada sounded a much different note regarding summer play in their communications with their many provincial associations.

Their press release starts with, “Rugby Canada… pleased to announce the formation of a pan-Canadian working group with the objective of developing a nationwide Return to Play strategy.”

The working group will be chaired by the CEO of BC Rugby and will have members from each provincial rugby union and Rugby Canada.

The release proposes, “The working group will initially consider creative options in terms of rugby–type activities, while also developing plans towards resuming full 7s and 15s competitions.”

The note ends, “Sport plays a critical role in the physical and emotional well beings of Canadians, and rugby clubs are at the heart of our communities providing opportunities for many people to be physically active and engage with new and old friends.”

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