WATERTOWN - On March 18, the CIAC released the following statement from it’s home office in Cheshire:
“Following an online meeting with nearly 70 school, athletic and governmental leaders CIAC reached a consensus that canceling the entirety of the spring sports season is premature at this time. There is a strong desire to provide student athletes some spring athletic experience if possible. Any plan for spring sports will need to adhere to the guidelines from the Governor’s office, Department of Education and health experts regarding the potential reopening of schools to establish a specific time frame.
“These are unprecedented challenges for our schools, and it is of the utmost importance that we provide answers and a structure to support our membership and maintain the possibility of a spring sports experience for our student-athletes,” CAS-CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini stated.
“CIAC understands the value of providing students a spring sports experience, if possible. However, the health and safety of our communities must remain at the center of our decision making.”
The online meeting discussion emphasized that while student-athletes may want to begin preparations for a potential season that respecting the recommendations for social distancing and avoiding group activities prior to the approved time will aid in keeping athletes safe and allow for the season to begin in a timely manner if approved.
The uncertainty of the timeline for school openings requires the understanding that any plans to begin spring sports will be fluid and should have the ability to reflect the different needs of different school communities.
During a period unlike any in our lifetimes, one when everything seems to have been turned upside-down, the news that the spring sports season was not going to cast into the winds was greeted as a sign of hope.
“I agree it was the right call,” said Watertown High School director of athletics Paul Catuccio, who cautioned, “I’m just not sure when we’ll be back.”
No one can speak accurately on that subject, of course, but if there is some hope of resuming the school year at some point (and it was snowing out as this was being written), it was wise of the oft-maligned CIAC to play it with a wait-and-see attitude until it’s no longer possible to.
How are Watertown High School’s spring sports athletes reacting to news that even a shortened season is possible?
Catalini, the Indians’ standout softball player, is optimistic.
“Being a junior and finding out that the spring sports weren’t canceled was a big relief to me,” said Catalini.
“I know now, being an upperclassman that each season means a lot, just to be able to get the season in some form and maybe having the option of having colleges watch you play.
“It also means a lot to the rest of the team(s) because we’ll all get to play together, and I’ll be looking forward to get to welcome and know the freshmen and become closer with them as friends and teammates.
“Before the season starts,” added Catalini, “we will hold some captains’ practices and just get better as a team before getting started, for which we can all hope.”
Also sounding an optimistic tone was Catalini’s WHS softball teammate, sophomore Paige Fekete.
“When I heard that spring sports weren’t being canceled, I was excited not only for the softball team, but for all spring sports teams throughout the state.
“It will provide a great opportunity for not only incoming freshmen to explore but also for the juniors and seniors who are waiting and ready to play and get recognition for their seasons.”
Fekete continued, “Our team will be ready, and hopefully, we’ll be able to play a season, however long it may be.”