By Matt Noonan
As the state of Massachusetts continues to reopen in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there is a sense of excitement for sports and recreational activities to return, including adult leagues, which would be permitted during the second phase.
Governor Charlie Baker is expected to share more information today about the second phase, which would allow adult, amateur, and youth sports leagues to return to the playing field.
The second phase is currely scheduled to begin Monday, June 8.
The news of welcoming back adult sports leagues certainly excited Jessica Knight, who is the founder and league coordinator for Simply Social Sports (S3) Boston.
“We are ready to go,” said Knight, who has been in touch with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department about acquiring permits for upcoming leagues. “(We are) just waiting for the go-ahead.”
Knight says S3 Boston will not be running any leagues until July but does hope to provide a few pickup games for its players in the coming weeks.
As of now, S3 Boston is expected to offer six leagues this summer, beginning as soon as Tuesday, July 7. Four of the six leagues will be softball, while the other two will be beach volleyball at Carson Beach and kickball at Teddy Eberson Field.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Jessica Knight to discuss how S3 Boston has stayed in touch with its players virtually these past few months, as well as what she expects leagues to look like once they can officially begin in a few weeks.
Since the pandemic started, how has S3 been able to stay connected with its players? Have you held virtual games or trivia events?
Yes. S3 Boston began as a social league and our goal was to continue this model throughout the pandemic. We have run weekly happy hours every Friday, as well as hosted some virtual events, including a running group, trivia, and music bingo. We have also shared daily workouts for our players.
Do you imagine your leagues and rules will have to be adjusted due to social distancing and safety measures? Additionally, do you think it is possible to offer some go-to/favorite sports but organize them differently?
Yes, we will need to incorporate rules around what equipment is shared, what is not shared, social distancing, and face coverings. I have been trying to think through a way to host Cornhole in a safe way – sure, it might be hard to stand six feet apart from each other while using gloves, but I think it is possible.
What sport (or leagues) do you think will be in high demand for your athletes this summer? And do you envision most leagues will be held outside?
This summer will be all outside. I am hopeful to get back indoors in the fall. I think softball and kickball are going to be in the highest demand. Everyone just wants to get back out there.
Obviously, safety and health will be the main focus when it comes to restarting and running leagues, so what should players expect after signing up to arriving to the field for their first game?
As of right now, we anticipate everyone will need to wear a mask and participate in social distancing as much as possible. We will be cleaning the supplies after each game and using a fresh ball for each contest. If someone falls sick, we will be offering them a prorated refund for the league to eliminate any pressure to show up.
Finally, does S3 Boston have leagues scheduled to start either later this month/early July?
Yes, they are all up on our website. We will be adding more soon as soon as we receive the permits from the parks department.