Jack Christian of Marysville slides into third base during a 2019 game. Non-contact high school sports in Ohio will be permitted to begin practice sessions next week. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
There appears to be a bit of light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel as far as some school sports.
At least that’s what Marysville High School varsity baseball coach Nick Blake feels.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association will reportedly allow non-contact high school sports to begin practicing on Tuesday, May 26.
That is the same day youth baseball and softball teams will be permitted to begin preparing for their 2020 seasons.
Sports such as baseball, softball, track and field, golf and tennis are among the sports that will be allowed to begin practicing.
Contact sports such as football, wrestling and basketball are not covered under the new OHSAA ruling.
There is one catch… just where will those non-contact teams practice?
Schools throughout Ohio remain in lockdown due to COVID-19.
That means teams are not permitted to work out on school property.
There has been no spring sports season this year, as the OHSAA shut down activities in conjunction with the school lockdown ordered a couple of months ago by Gov. Mike DeWine.
Non-contact teams may begin working out next week and there will be no limit as to the number of practice sessions those squads may conduct during the summer.
“In the past, the OHSAA has allowed teams to hold 10 days of off-season practices,” said Blake, who would have coached his second season with the Monarchs this spring.
The organization is lifting all restrictions for practices during the off-season.
“We will be able to practice as many days as we want,” said Blake. “August is normally a no-contact period for winter and spring sports.
“The OHSAA, however, has lifted that restriction as well.”
Blake said his team would really like to begin practices next week.
Right now, however, it’s like what Richard Gere’s character said in the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman”… “I’ve got nowhere else to go.”
“We can start to practice next week, but until the school shutdown is lifted, we don’t have a place to practice,” said Blake.
The coach said he had a virtual meeting with his team last week and each athlete who will return for 2021 appears ready to get back on the diamond.
“We’ll take advantage of the limitless practice sessions as much as we can,” said Blake. “A lot of guys are going to be playing with their travel teams on the weekends, so we don’t want to interfere with that.
“We’ll have practice sessions Mondays through Thursdays for maybe a couple of hours a day,” he said. “We’ll take advantage of having a team-type of structure and do something baseball-related every day.”
Until the school lockdown is lifted, however, practice sessions will be problematic.
“If we were to try and practice anywhere but school property, it would cost us some type of rental fee,” he said. “We don’t want to do that.
“We’ll hopefully hear some guidance about school property reopening sometime this week or next,” said Blake.
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