Today we started our first practice of Little League baseball for the little little.
It was remarkable the amount of consideration we put into it because of the pandemic. It seems to violate all manner of the tenets of social distancing and isolation that are meant to help keep us safe. It also happens out doors, where the UV rays are purported to quell the virus, and in general the way the game is played is already socially distant.
We have friends who have an avid softball player, the same age as our older little, who was only slightly delayed, and practiced and played all last year and through the winter. We took their anecdotes into consideration, noting how parents are always masked, and players usually are, except maybe when batting or base running, or playing catcher if the masks don't collaborate well.
MLB has been playing. Last year without spectators for the most part, and this year with separated pairs and small groups. Although, my home team has had to go into quarantine and miss the weekend's game, and possibly more this week.
Our Little League did play last year, after the early lock-down restrictions eased a little. They follow the recommendations, with masks and separation. They moved the few fans allowed, immediate family only, to separated seating in the outfield. This leaves the behind-the-plate seating to extend the dugouts, so the players can spread out when not on the field. Coaches must be masked the whole game, and players should, especially when not in the field.
And we're both vaccinated with our second shots. I've got a few days to go before my "total efficacy" kicks in in Thursday, so we'll be good for the season, we hope.
If our first practice was a good representation, we should be OK. Most of the kids had masks, and most wore them correctly and the entire time, except when getting water. That's where the space broke down a little, too, as everyone collected in one dugout. They ran from the field to the dugout, grabbed bottles, glugged some water, talked some, glugged more, talked more, put their bottles away, put their masks on, and ran back out in the field. A short interaction, in the hot, bright sun.
One of the coaches did the nose-over mask. Another didn't have theirs pinched over their nose, so as they talked, it worked like a huge robotic under-bite, sliding up and down like a mad puppet as they talked. Still a distance away from everyone not their kid.
I try to not be ridiculous about mask adherence. It's different when people are defiant about not wearing them, especially when they're confrontational about them. Thankfully, I've only seen that in videos. I recognize they're a "slow-down" not a "dead-stop" for the virus spread. But better fit means more slow.
Still, we were outside, and we were dozens of feet apart most of the time, and an easy llama or moose apart when we weren't farther apart.
The kiddo loved it. He got to throw and catch and hit and run and catch and throw and run some more. He liked that I'm coaching so I can help all of his friends get good at baseball. He likes that we have a buddy thing, that his sister and I had before. He likes that now we get to play catch and baseball in the back yard (which frustrates him that I won't practice batting with real balls, but neighbors and houses and windows...). The park is at the end of the block, across a busy street and through the parking lot, where we can use the batting cages when they're empty, or just have some open grass to throw and run on. And there's a swing set and jungle gym for when baseball gets done.
A few more practices are coming up, probably one or two a week. A planned cadence of a couple baseball events a week should do. Most are at the same park, which is nice, so we'll have some regularity. The game schedules are out, with one or two a week, so we'll have a couple games, or a game and a practice, through May and into June.
Now to figure out how to do this with my adhesive capsulitis, so I don't grumble or hurt myself during practice or a game. Thankfully, the PT has made it so that controlled movement in front of my body is mostly unlimited and pain-free. It's those quick unexpected things that still get me, like throwing my hand out there to catch a ball going a little too far to the right, that will probably hurt the most.
It'll get sorted, for sure.