After a 465 day hiatus, I finally was able to pick up a microphone and lend my voice as a backdrop for a local sporting event here in Massachusetts. And it was an amazing feeling.
Being able to announce this morning’s Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Field of Dreams contest between Massachusetts General Brigham and the Boston All-Stars at Fenway Park was exciting — in fact, it was the most fun I have had on the microphone since I started calling sporting events as a student at Wheaton College (Mass.).
Yes, I have announced this event in the past, along with the organization’s “Hoop Dreams” outing at the TD Garden, but this morning’s contest provided me with a sense of hope and renewal for future coverage in the “new normal” — I am already counting the days until to my next PA announcing gig while circling while plotting my return to the sidelines to cover future college and high school sporting events.
Like many, the past 14-to-15 months was a struggle, both mentally and emotionally — to be honest, I was unsure what I would produce for the blog and podcast when various leagues were sent to the sidelines at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But despite so much uncertainty, I remained hopeful and optimistic — I knew I would return to the microphone one day, and that day happened to be this morning: Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
It was just one game, but it was the best game that I have announce in 2021.
Massachusetts amateur and youth sports leagues will start to look more like they did prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18 with the state permitting athletes “18 and under” to no longer wear a face-covering while competing outdoors. 11 days later — Saturday, May 29, to be exact — all restrictions will be lifted.
Monday was an exciting day for many in the state of Massachusetts as Governor Charlie Baker announced all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted effective Saturday, May 29, which means it’s possible that we could see Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium operate at 100 percent capacity on that particular day.
Both the Boston Red Sox and New England Revolution will be at home on Saturday, May 29, but no announcement from either team has been made about how many fans will be admitted for each contest. Additionally, the TD Garden will be able to host more fans, pending the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics are still competing in their respective postseason tournament.
Most likely, today’s announcement means Gillette Stadium will be filled for the upcoming New England Patriots season — the team unveiled its 2021 season last Wednesday, May 12, and will kick-off their three-game preseason at home on Thursday, August 12 against the Washington Football Team.
Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18, youth and amateur sports leagues will no longer have to wear “face coverings.” And on Saturday, May 29, “all youth and amateur sports restrictions will be lifted.”
The Noontime Sports Podcast is back to podcasting — yes, we needed a few days off to rest and reset, but we’re excited to share our show once again through our website. And of course, you can listen to our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor.
On Thursday, May 6, we welcomed Malcom Lemmons to the podcast — Malcolm is the CEO and Founder of Athletes Unheard, a company that is on a mission to amplify conversations around mental health in sports.
We all know playing football during a pandemic is risky – there is a lot of concern from both coaches and players regarding safety, especially when it comes to tackling or crouching in front of an opposing offensive or defensive player.
So it should come as no surprise that 13 states, including Californa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and Oregon have decided to not allow its high schoolers to play football this fall, according to a recent update from the National Federation Of State High Schools Association (NFHS). That number is expected to increase, not just this week, but over the next few weeks as more organizations unveil plans for allowing student-athletes to return to playing field either later this month, next month, or at some point this fall.
There are some states planning to play football this year, including Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Louisana, and Michigan – there are others, of course – while here in New England, it seems to be an unknown if and how the sport could be played safely.
As of this morning, all six New England states seem to have some plans in place for allowing fall sports teams to startup after Labor Day – here in Massachusetts, the plan would be to allow programs to return to the practice field on Monday, September 14, but that date could change due to a recent uptick in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.
Three New England states – Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire – might be able to play high school football this fall, but all three seasons will be much shorter than usual.
While there is so much uncertainty surrounding fall sports, especially high school football, one must remember that the situation is fluid and plans could change, not just here in New England, but in other parts of the country. More announcements on high school football, as well as other fall sports should be coming this week – keep your eyes on Ohio where Governor Mike DeWine is supposed tomake a decision about all athletic events, including high schools and youth sports.
Watching football on both Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons would certainly provide us all with a sense of normalcy, but asI mentioned during an op-ed piece on Friday, the thought of risking the health of not just student-athletes, coaches, team representatives, officials, parents, and community members is not worth it.