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From the Dugout - Players Have The Choice
Jan. 1, 2021
By Terry Hennessy
Doing the right thing is sometimes difficult – especially when it is not exactly clear what the “right” thing actually is.
In the case of the upcoming Tournament of Champions, we agonized over whether to try to push the tournament back or even cancel it. Ironically, it was not the tournament itself we were worried about – we know our protocols have been effective. It was the potential danger of air travel. This tournament, unlike many others, requires many teams to fly.
The pandemic is spiking in several areas throughout the country and new, more contagious strains, have started to pop up, as well. And, if the health forecasters were right, the spikes would be worse a few weeks after the conclusion of the Christmas holiday period … exactly when players would be traveling to the TOC.
The TOC is a very special tournament, one that includes several extra events. We canceled three of the events – the banquet and two All-Star Games – because it was too difficult to maintain our pandemic protocols during those events.
We will be able to hold the Hitting Clinic, Skills Competition and Practice Games for teams because we are able to maintain distancing and mask requirements.
This decision, like many during the pandemic, is about balancing players’ safety and personal freedom. We have control over providing safety protocols during tournaments that have proven extremely effective. Obviously, we do not have control over air travel.
In the end, we decided that players – not us – had the right to decide whether they wanted to fly. Both flying and playing have risks. While we are confident of our protocols at the tournament, there is still a real risk.
We respect the right of players to weigh the risks and make their own decisions.
Terry Hennessy is chief executive officer of Senior Softball USA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.