Windsor

Some organised sports leagues are pulling the plug on the season, others undecided

Local leagues are taking one for the team when it comes to play in the time of COVID-19, some are cancelling their seasons altogether while others are waiting to see if they can squeeze a season of play in. 

The Ciociaro Softball Complex will not open this summer

They might not be opening the fields this year at the Ciociaro Softball Complex in Tecumseh — but they are still going to maintain them so they'll be good for next season. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Local leagues are taking one for the team when it comes to play in the time of COVID-19. Some are cancelling their seasons altogether, while others are waiting to see if they can squeeze in a season of play. 

"It sucks not playing and being with my friends all summer. It's really different because summer for me is just baseball baseball - games practicing that basically my summer for you," Tecumseh Thunder player Logan Verbeem said.

His summer of sports is on hold as measures around the COVID-19 pandemic continue. While some leagues are waiting to see if they'll be allowed to hit the field again, others have already decided to pull the plug.

Matt Janisse, operator of the Ciociaro Softball Complex, says weeds become a big problem for fields that aren't being used by players. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"One hundred teams a week run through this park on a normal basis, so without that foot traffic, those fields get over taken by weeds, the infield gets over taken by weeds and, next thing, your baseball complex is no longer useable," said Matt Janisse, operator of the Ciociaro Softball Complex.

Typically, 1,500 adult players get the chance to play there weekly as part of seniors, co-ed and men's leagues — but this year, Janisse has decided to keep the fences locked.

"It was a really tough decision but we wanted to act early. There was a lot of concerns we had as far as safe social distancing within our configuration of ballpark."

One major concern for players, however, was the ball itself.

"Too many people touching the same ball that can't be cleaned quite enough. Too many negatives to try and go out and do something that's just a recreational and fun thing this year." 

Logan Verbeen plays for the Tecumseh Thunder Triple A baseball team. He hopes he will get the chance to play some games this summer. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Verbeem, Janisse's nephew, is helping his uncle work on the fields. He said all his tournaments in the U.S. have been cancelled and he's holding out hope there could be some local games — or even something on the provincial scale.

"It sucks not playing and being with my friends all summer. It's really different because summer for me is just baseball baseball, games, practicing - that basically my summer for you."

They're just nipping at the bud right now trying to wait it out and see what happens.- Paul Bartolo

He's not sure what the rules would be if they were to come back but baseball under physical distancing guidelines will likely look a bit different.

"I'm not sure if we're going to be able to do dugouts. Stuff like handshakes ... you have to social distance yourself away from other players."

Soccer on stand still

On the soccer pitch, games there are at a standstill as well, according Windsor Soccer Club president Paul Bartolo.

He said there was a deadline for the league to cut things off altogether but wouldn't specify what that date was.

Paul Bartolo is the president of the Windsor Soccer Club. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Right now, the league is waiting for directives from Ontario Soccer to determine if the season will go ahead.  While doing so, Bartolo said, the board of the club did its best to keep the spirit of soccer alive for some of its younger players,

"We did an actual ball drop, a contactless ball drop at their homes and left a ball with each player so at least they have something to do in the front or backyard with mom and dad -- or brother and sister," said Bartolo, adding it's tough for older players to be off the field.

"Everybody else, they're just nipping at the bud right now trying to wait it out and see what happens."

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker is a videojournalist for CBC Windsor.

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