JAY – Regional directors of Regional School Unit 73 voted unanimously on Thursday, March 11 to allow baseball and softball conditioning exercises to begin on March 22 in middle and high school.
“It’s been a strange year,” said Spruce Mountain High School Athletic Director Marc Keller. “It’s a basketball game tonight, cheering next week. The Maine Principals’ Association has said March 22 is the opening for baseball and softball.”
The rest of the spring sport begins the following week, he said. Spring sports come as winter sports culminate, which is not common, Keller noted.
The MPA guidelines, the protocols for each sport are not available yet, but should be soon, Keller said. Spring sports lost the entire season last year, he said.
“I’m asking for permission to start softball and baseball on March 22,” Keller said. “The reason is that it is a week with conditioning arm. That week is very important. There are no hits, no fouls, just throwing a ball back and forth. ”
The next board meeting is after that date, Keller said. The rest of the spring sport is scheduled to start on March 29, he noted.
“My thought is to give Chief Medical Officer Scott Albert permission when we have the information to say yes or no to what they (MPA) said,” said Chairman Robert Staples. “All spring sports are outdoors. There is very little contact, very little side by side. The batter and the catcher. It’s not like basketball, football. ”
Spruce also offers athletics, boys and girls tennis, and one student has played with the Maranacook lacrosse team for six years, Keller said.
Director Joel Pike asked for feedback on mental health, the student’s wellness piece that is required as part of winter sports participation.
“It was valuable,” Keller said. “A good coach is going to work on these things no matter what, constantly working on mental health, leadership, developing teamwork skills, acquiring skills. It was good we had it in there.
“When I know my buses, I know they had it there anyway,” he remarked. “It was an easy transition for them, could relatively easily put it into the program. It worked pretty well. ”
“I can not imagine that the MPA will propose anything else,” said director Elaine Fitzgerald. Mask wearing, socially distanced in the excavation, common sense things will not change, she said.
“We are not in the same place as we got into winter sports,” Fitzgerald said.
A final decision on spring sports will be made by Albert when the MPA guidelines are available. Focusing on athletes’ mental health needs will also be part of our sports programs.
“I want to thank the school board on behalf of our athletes, our coaches, parents and grandparents,” Keller said. “It was a fantastic opportunity to participate in sports this winter. Our kids really needed it. ”