When outdoor sports and activities are given the green light in Phase 4.1 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan to go ahead on Monday, June 22, the resumption will be welcome by many.
For those in the football community, some will have to wait for a full return to the field, but it’s still a step in the right direction.
“Now the real work begins,” said Mike Thomas, Football Sask director of football operations.
Football Sask has been preparing a document on what a return to football looks like for its members, which it is set to release to athletes and parents on Monday.
However, it doesn’t mean they can hit the ground running just yet.
“It definitely won’t be all systems go on Monday,” Thomas said. “There’s a lot of different things that need to come about from this.
“We really want to make sure that we really nail these things on the head properly when it is released. Then the players and the teams know what they are able to do when that time is appropriate for them.”
The many different components of football make a return to the sports a little more difficult than most. Flag football activities can resume on Monday, but practices will consist of non-contact drills. And they’ll need to wait a few more weeks to play games.
Tackle football, on the other hand, will wait until the fall.
“We’re still working to ensure our tackle members know that we’re there for them and we’re planning to have things in place for them when football is resuming,” Thomas said.
“We’ve definitely gotten a bevvy of ideas and have a plan in place of how that will look for them.”
That includes Regina Minor Football, which is targeting Aug. 4 as a potential return to practice date, with non-contact drills. However, that date could be pushed back farther if other sports don’t see a successful return.
“I think we’re pretty happy to know that we’re going to be starting at the same time we always do,” said Len Antonini, Regina Minor Football executive director. “Unless (sports like) soccer and basketball start earlier and they find that you can’t do any of it.”
And when tackle football is given the green light, there will be physical distancing restrictions in place due to COVID-19, which could change how the game looks, but not necessarily how it’s played.
“If we can do it safely, we would love to get back to the game and I think that we’re in a pretty good position here in Saskatchewan, but we’ve got to watch too,” Antonini said.
“Teams understand and know that and are realizing that might be the harsh reality here for 2020,” Thomas added. “But I think they and the players are OK with that because they at least know that there would be something for them.”
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