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September 21, 2020

Ontario's CEWFL rep teams get back to playing softball in local communities.


COVID-19 - An extraordinary public health state of emergency 

As competitive U19 rep teams representing the Aurora Diggers Girls Softball Association (ADGSA) and the Port Perry Angels Softball Association (PPASA) warmed up on the field for a Tuesday night Central East Women's Softball League (CEWSL) doubleheader in the Town of Aurora's Fleury Park, all seemed ordinary and what you would normally expect for a late August evening in any local community. 

But everything associated with this year's softball season has been anything but ordinary. The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus throughout the world and the potentially severe and expansive public health implications associated with this extremely contagious virus, had forced a state of emergency response across the globe in mid-March.  It also forced sport at all levels to stop on a dime and face unprecedented challenges in their ability to offer play and competition opportunities at even a basic level. 


More softball coverage from SWSCD

It's all about the pitching: The three types of softball

SWSCD Athlete Gallery: 2018 Aurora Ladies' Softball Association's Championship Weekend

Summer softball found in Ontario's York Region


Back to Play - A focus on communication, cooperation and collaboration

In response to these COVID-19-challenged times, organizations at all levels of sport have been forced to create and implement brand new detailed 'back-to-play' protocals and procedures.  National sport organizations like Softball Canada, provincial sport organizations like the Ontario Professional Women's Softball Association (a member association of Softball Ontario and the primary association that oversees women's softball in Ontario), local sport organizations like the ADGSA and PPASA and regional leagues like the CEWFL all came together to collaboratively create the required back-to-play framework.  Incorporating national, provincial, regional and municipal public health and safety protocols was essential to ensuring the safety of all their softball players, coaches, officials and supporters. 



Now with the province of Ontario's state of emergency lifted and a phased-in approach to returning to full operations in place, the hard work and extraordinary efforts required by so many local, provincial and national softball administrators and volunteers has paid off.  Through their collaboration with each other, public health officials, provincial Ministry of Health and Labour officials along with municipal recreation and facility operators, rep team players have had the chance to get back on the field through a shortened season of exhibition games played within a pod of three and four teams. 



Many of the players appeared very happy to be back and expressed their excitement in the enthusiasm they had when cheering their teammates on.  The efforts to get back on the field were clearly front and centre in the mandatory masks that all had to wear when on the bench, up to bat and running the bases. Spectators were not allowed and had to remain behind a white powdered line encircling the diamond.  All players, coaches and visitors that entered the designated play space also had to wear a mask at all times, had their temperature checked and answered a brief health questionnaire. 

Once the game began, balls and bats were regularly cleaned and hand sanitizer was at the ready on each bench.  Keeping everyone safe on the field was one of the primary priorities for this year's abbreviated softball season.  But even when faced with the extraordinary challenges of COVID-19, coaches, administrators and officials were still very much focused on ensuring each of their players had the chance to enjoy the sheer joy of playing softball.  





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