No One Plays on Perfect Spring Day
Mother Nature did her part. A sunny, 72-degree day doesn't happen often in early April. Nevertheless, high school activities directors fill every available date with events and cross their fingers. Such was the case for Tuesday, April 7. However the weather wasn't the problem this time. The coronavirus pandemic has prep sports suspended across the state.
The Owatonna High School baseball team would have held their home opener Tuesday against Rochester John Marshall. Presumably, they would have played at Fuller Field. There is still the question of whether the fire in a shed under the bleachers would have kept fans out of the grandstand, which appears to be fine shape. A recent inquiry with the State Fire Marshall's office indicated the investigation into the blaze was still ongoing.
The field was covered in snow on Friday, April 3 when the lights were lit for the #BeTheLightMN movement. But Tuesday the field looked fine, though the locked gate prevented anyone for entering.
Tuesday would have also featured a home match for the boys tennis team and boys golfers. OHS softball, girls golf, and boys track all were on the schedule for road events.
In a recent interview with KRFO, Owatonna Activities Director March Achterkirch said, "Everything at this point has been suspended, nothings been canceled...Big Nine AD's, we've been meeting through Zoom...We have some preliminary ideas (on structuring a shortened season) but we need a little more guidance (from the high school league)."
For the time being, as of April 8 for this writing, spring sports are suspended through at least May 4 in line with the distance learning directive from the governor. Achterkirch stressed athletes must do workouts individually and not in groups. Coaches can suggest activities for their athletes to do with sheltering at home.
Achterkirch added, "It's really, really hard not seeing our kids. Just the day-to-day interaction and I know it's extremely difficult on our students as well. Personally, my own kids, saying they miss school, they miss seeing their friends, they miss going to practices, competitions. It's very difficult on everybody...Our profession is working with our students, our athletes, it's hard. But everybody is in the same situation. We have to know that we will get through this."
"There will be a time where we will get together again and we will practice, compete, and we'll carry on," he added.