Though COVID-19 has forced things to change up a bit, area coaches are slowly getting to resume practice and workouts for school sports.

Coaches and athletes have met several challenges in keeping with safety guidance. Even something as easy as not “high fiving” has been a challenge that several coaches have said is harder than one would think. 

“One challenge that maybe I did not anticipate was not being able to high five the guys,” Hamburg Coach Cecil Ray Cossey said. “I miss that energy. And it’s been tough not being able to just hang out with them around the field house and locker room.”

Crossett basketball coach Shanae Govan said that has been a big challenge for her team as well. 

“They struggle with that the most,” she said. “We love encouraging one another or celebrating each other’s successes so when someone does something good, it’s tough not to greet them with a high  five; we’re adjusting but it’s tough.”

Not all sports have resumed yet, but those that have are already working to overcome the new challenges. 

Crossett basketball workouts for both Govan’s team and the boys team under  Dominic Lincoln’s coaching mantle resumed last month, but the coaches said the restrictions have made it difficult. 

“Being restricted to individual workouts only and not being able to incorporate “team drills” is tough. Especially when you’re so accustomed to doing so,” Govan said.  “Also, not being able to compete as far as scrimmaging has been really tough.”

Another challenge has been providing water. Right now, instead of a shared water cooler, the basketball teams have designated a water bottle for each player that has to be washed and sanitized after each practice.

The coaches said that when community members ask what they can do to help, they tell them that purchasing cases of water so that water bottles can be thrown away after each practice would be helpful. 

Crossett football has not yet started, but they have plans to start this week. 

Hamburg Lion football players were able to begin work outs on Monday, but with strict precautions. 

Cossey said that he is excited to get back to work, but that safety is the No. 1 priority.

“We will do everything in our power to follow every guideline and help enforce that our players do the same,” Cossey said.

So far the coach said that his players and coaches have done a great job following the guidelines.

“From a competitive standpoint, it is a little frustrating to hear of other schools who are not following the guidelines,” Cossey said.

The guidelines were posted on the Hamburg football team’s website for the parents and players to review.

Cossey said they will not allow entry for a player not meeting all guidelines, including an active physical on record with the school within the last 15 months.

“Kids, like most of us, do not like wearing masks inside in the weight room. But we have not had any issues with compliance,” Cossey said “We sometimes may have to remind players to put their masks on while waiting on the next lift, but everyone seems to either understand it’s for the greater good or at least be willing to comply with the guidelines even when they do not like them,” Cossey said.

 Athletes will not be allowed in either locker room at any time per AAA guidelines, but Cossey said there will be a one time exception, for players to get their personal belongings that were left in March. There will only be a limited amount of players allowed in at a time to do this.

Restrooms are to be used for emergency situations only and by no more than one player at a time. The stalls will be cleaned before another player is allowed to use the restroom. Water fountains are not to be used at all.

Athletes were told to arrive each day dressed in their own athletic shorts, T-shirt, and tennis shoes. They were also told to bring a personal, pre-filled water bottle and towel.  

There will also be mandatory requirments to check the athletes in each day and check their temperature.

“(Superintendent) Tracy Streeter made sure we had masks and touch less thermometers before we ever started back in June. And, Mrs. Kim Rice was able to have cloth masks donated for players and coaches. So, our people have definitely taken care of us,” Cossey said.  “We are very grateful”

Cossey said athletes who are not currently on the team roster for next year will not be allowed access to the facilities.

Crossett football workouts are set to resume on July 8.

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