File photo by Barry BurlesonMichael Allison, assistant coach for 4-year-old Holly Springs Baby Sharks, gets the team ready to take the field for a game last season (in 2019).
Youth league cancelled this season
The ball fields are quiet. No kids are enjoying their first games, their first home run, or even their first time to hit the ball.
The T-ballers are not playing in the dirt, chasing butterflies, or running to third instead of first when they hit the ball.
Parents are not asking the umpire if he forgot his glasses.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Marshall County Sports has made the painful decision to cancel the Dizzy Dean season for this year.
"It is truly a sad time for the children," said Janice Wagg, who leads the youth league.
Communities had signed up players in late February and early March and gotten coaches. Uniforms were ordered, and a handful of teams had been able to practice when it was not raining. Umpires had even been lined up. A softball camp was held and a baseball camp was being planned.
When schools were closed due to COVID-19, the league postponed practices to protect the the children.
"When it was announced that schools would not reopen this semester, we talked to parks and recs across the area," Wagg said. "Some were cancelling while some were waiting in hopes that a part of the season could be salvaged.
Dizzy Dean made an exception to the number of games that would have to be played to be eligible for state tournaments.
"Still there was hope that games could be played to give the children something in their lives that was `normal,' " Wagg said.
Parents were mixed in their feelings.
"Some wanted to play while others said their children would not play even if we had a season," Wagg said. "Some town and league officials wanted to cancel as they did not want the responsibility of possibly exposing the children, parents, or grandparents to the virus."
Dizzy Dean has canceled the much-anticipated World Series but is encouraging those leagues that are able to play to consider having state tournaments if they can be played prior to school starting in August.
While most of the local parks are closed, parents and older siblings are encouraged to spend some time practicing with children in their own back yards.
It's the first time in more than 30 years that Wagg hasn't been on a Marshall County ball field regularly this time of year.
"I just hate it for the kids," she said.
"So many people are so disappointed."