A lot has changed in a span of three months due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19), including the adult sports world, which has seen an uptick in numerous leagues switching from in-person contests to virtual events like esports, trivia, and blogging, so they can remain connected with their players.
Providing virtual events has been a great way for members of the Boston Ski & Sports Club (BSSC) community to remain connected. BSSC has offered not just video game tournaments and trivia on its Instagram account for the past few weeks, but also workout tips and recipes from various players, which have been highlighted through its website and social media channels.
“We definitely made it a point to stay connected with the BSSC community on a weekly basis as much as we could,” said Ryan Walsh, who is the director of marketing and sponsorships with BSSC. “We didn’t want to just switch the lights off and say we’ll see you on the other side of this, so we made somewhat of a pivot to provide different offerings to launching a new section of our business and esports.”
Esports, as Walsh noted, has become a popular outlet for many over the past few weeks and months, including BSSC players that miss competing on the flag football and soccer fields. BSSC has and continues to run esports tournaments on PlayStation and Xbox – in fact, they are offering one this evening for those interested in competing in FIFA ’20 tournament.
“It’s been received extremely well,” Walsh said of his organization’s esports tournaments. “(We) have had over 100 registrations combined throughout all tournaments.”
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While video games, Instagram posts, and blogs have been a great way to stay in touch, Walsh and colleagues are eager to slowly switch back to the in-person format, but only when it safe to do so. \Massachusetts, which is currently in the second phase of its reopening, does permit adult, amateur, and youth sports leagues to resume or startup but without games. Contests would be allowed during the state’s third phase, which is currently scheduled to begin on Monday, June 29.
Noontime Sports recently spoke with Ryan Walsh about how BSSC has not just stayed connected with its players these past few months, but also how the organization plans to return to the field hopefully this summer.
With sports being permitted in some capacity in the second phase of the state’s reopening plan, what sort of activities will BSSC offer its athletes (and customers)?
Our golf leagues were the first thing that could resume playing with multiple night options. We are looking at clinics for certain sports as well in a controllable environment.
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?
Definitely. The rules for reopening are still evolving, but we will err on the side of caution with safety being the main priority. The guidance from the state at this time will not allow sports games to resume until the third phase, which is currently scheduled for Monday, June 29. There will be safety protocols around social distancing, hygiene, staffing, and cleaning, which will affect a lot of the logistics around the games, along with masks being worn by the staff to social distancing between games and team. And sadly, we will not allow high fives.
We’re awaiting the protocol advice around the actual playing of games. Whatever the guidance, we’re hopeful that some go-to sports can happen with some modifications.
What sport (or leagues) do you think will be in high demand for your athletes? And do you envision most leagues will be held outside?
Soccer and softball are our two largest sports so those will be in demand once we can safely return to the field and diamond. The second phase of our state’s reopening is only allowing indoor sports for youth, so if this continues into the next phase then we will not be able to offer indoor leagues. However, we will be excited no matter what when games can be played.
As of now, we have many outdoor league locations, and with folks having been cooped up for so long we think they will be excited to get outside. It also won’t be a surprise to see more of our social sports like kickball receive a boost as we think people will want to rally their friends to get together for that sport.
Obviously, safety and health will be the main focus when it comes to restarting/running these leagues, so what should players expect after signing up and arriving at the field/facility for their first game (or event)?
Massachusetts released a set of standards last week for the recreation sector, which again is part of the current phase we’re in. We anticipate that a lot of those standards will continue into the third phase, but we are monitoring that closely and will modify our standards accordingly.
At this time, however, we think our players should expect some logistical rules around social distancing before and after games to using hand sanitizer and minimizing the use of shared equipment. We will ask players to monitor their health – if they have symptoms then we will politely request that they do not play. And we will be mindful of those players who seem concerned or worried about contracting the virus.
Finally, does BSSC have leagues scheduled to start either later this month/early July?
We’ve pushed start dates a few different times at this point, but the short answer is yes, as of now we have start dates in that timeframe but are still waiting to see the developments of the reopening at the moment.
The BSSC General Statement: Since 1967, Boston Ski & Sports Club’s mission of remaining Boston’s Way to Play continues to reach over 50,000 participants annually. BSSC’s staff remains dedicated to making certain that participants continue to have access to the best events, sports leagues, ski trips, and adventure travel in New England. The focus each year is to remain rooted in our community by offering competitive pricing, a tremendous experience, and a dedication to excellence to create affirmative long-term relationships with our members, participants, and partners.