By CT McDonald
Last week Little League International (LLI) canceled regional tournaments and the Little League World Series because of the difficulty of bringing, possibly, thousands of people together in the same place under the current virus pandemic conditions.
But LLI did not rule out the possibility that district and local seasons could resume based on safe conditions, expert health guidance and official requirements and regulations at the national, state and local level.
In the past few days, Little League International has issued various detailed guidelines and waived some regulations to facilitate resumption of a local modified spring season, while cautioning that conditions at the local level should dictate the final outcome.
The LLI said, in part, “… it is highly encouraged that each league and district adheres to the guidelines set forth by their national, state/provincial, and local government and health officials in terms of public gatherings and sporting events when determining when it is safe to return to normal activities. Leagues should contact their local health authority for guidance prior to resuming any Little League activities.
Irmo Little League (ILL) — one of four leagues in District 3 and with home fields at Richland County’s Friarsgate Park — is watching for the re-opening of park facilities and other variants with the hope of resuming the spring season in modified form when it becomes possible.
In a Sunday post on the ILL’s facebook page, it said, “The Board will be meeting this week to formulate a plan based on the information that we have received over the last couple of days from Little League International and Richland County in regards to how the Spring season will operate and resume when Richland County reopens the fields.
“As the league has always stated, the Spring season will not be cancelled but will resume as soon as we are allowed back on the fields so players make sure you are keeping your arms loose. More detailed information will be coming very soon.”
The Richland County Recreation Commission (RCRC) and the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission (ICRC) have recently re-opened limited outdoor use of their facilities, but resuming ordinary activities such as ballgames and using indoor facilities is still on hold.
The RCRC has opened their trails and open spaces to their patrons, while parking at their sites is limited to discourage the gathering of large numbers of people. And the commission says that social distancing must be practiced while on-site, and that shelters and playgrounds are still not open.
Linrick golf course does, however, remain open, with certain requirements of their guests to restrict the spread of the virus.
The ICRC was to re-open its trails and greenspaces to their patrons last Friday, as well as the boat ramps at Saluda Shoals Park. Trails and greenspace access includes Crooked Creek Park, Melvin Park, Mungo Park, Saluda Shoals Park and Seven Oaks Park, while community buildings, meeting facilities, the dog park, picnic shelters, playgrounds and restrooms remain closed.
As before, Meals-On-Wheels food delivery continues.
The ICRC encourages patrons to practice hand hygiene and social distancing, and to bring their own hand sanitizer and water bottles.
With a careful and measured re-boot to normalcy, youth baseball, softball and other summer activities could be in our near-to-midrange future, after all.