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From the Dugout - Hope Towards Softball Normalcy in 2021
Jan. 1, 2021
By Terry Hennessy
The best thing about 2020 is that it makes 2021 look so promising!
We have been asked by many players, sponsors and cities what we expect in 2021.
While we cannot guarantee anything in the future, our best guess is that the first quarter of the year, through March, will largely look like 2020 as far as softball is concerned.
Some states -- such as California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington -- will likely open slowly, with few leagues and tournaments through March. Other states -- such as Arizona, Texas and Florida – are relatively open and will continue to allow leagues and tournaments with some restrictions and pandemic recommendations.
Senior Softball USA early tournaments, fortunately, are mostly in the open states.
Last year, we were able to hold 25 of the normal 90 national qualifiers and recreational tournaments. This year, we are expecting to hold 75-80 tournaments – almost a full schedule.
We expect to continue using our Pandemic Protocols in tournaments at least until April and perhaps into the summer. Those protocols have been very successful so far. Of the more than 25,000 players competing in our tournaments in 2020, fewer than 40 players have contracted COVID-19. Of those cases, only 6 have been hospitalized and, fortunately, all have recovered.
In the recent TOC, one player on a 60AAA team from Wisconsin tested positive for COVID-19 after the tournament. To put this in perspective, there were almost 1,400 players competing. And, in the Top Gun Winter Classic, one 55 AAA team from Nevada voluntarily withdrew after they discovered one of the players tested positive. That is out of about 1,600 players competing.
While there will continue to be a very real risk of contracting COVID-19 until most people are vaccinated, we believe the outdoor nature of our sport and the fact that most senior athletes are healthy helps keep Senior Softball as safe as possible.
Bottom line: 2021 should be a much better year to play softball!
Terry Hennessy is chief executive officer of Senior Softball USA and can be reached at email@example.com.