youth

It looks like a normal season of Lynden Youth Sports basketball will not happen this winter, given COVID limits on players and facilities. (File photo)

Season restarts were tried throughout 2020, with no success  

LYNDEN ­— Sports have been put on hold at just about every level since the coronavirus pandemic exploded onto the scene in March. With a few exceptions such as private club teams, athletes have been sidelined from competition for seven months now.

High school teams may be the most visible of those impacted by the cancelations. However, children participating in recreational sports have also had their seasons taken from them.

Lynden Youth Sports typically has between 1,500 and 2,000 kids participating in all the sports offered in a year.

All of which is obviously not happening right now, said organization president Rich Waldemar.

The pandemic started right when girls softball and boys baseball was getting ready to begin. The seasons hadn’t started yet, and Waldemar said teams were just being formed before everything was shut down.

“We put everything on hold for two weeks and then a month,” he said. “We tried a third time in July to put together a baseball and softball season, when we finally just had to pull the plug.”

Waldemar said he and his board tried to find ways to make something happen until finally canceling everything to the start of 2021. 

“We sat here for months trying to plan on next month or two months and trying to make contingency plans,” Waldemar said. “A couple of months back, we finally canceled everything until January when things get settled down.”

As things stand right now, Waldemar said, the hope is to start back up in the spring, with a little encouragement even as restrictions were loosened by Gov. Jay Inslee last week.

One of the difficulties with starting back up now, however, would be securing venues. Waldemar said the timeline the City of Lynden works on for field usage doesn’t leave ample time to get everything organized. The city usually shuts down the soccer fields at Bender on Nov. 1 to avoid winter-weather damage.

“That would leave me about four weeks to put together a season with turnouts, coaches, shirts, jerseys and everything else I need,” he said. “That can’t happen and be put together that fast.”

On top of that, Waldemar said getting usage of the high school gyms for a LYS basketball season this winter realistically isn’t going to be possible. 

With the high schools hoping to have their own seasons this winter with plenty of regulations in place, Waldemar said, schools aren’t going to want to add additional risk and people into their buildings. 

“There’s no way the schools are going to let somebody into their facilities that they can’t control,” he said.

That leaves spring as the best chance for children in Lynden to get back to recreational sports.

Waldemar said the board is hopeful of being able to offer boys baseball and girls softball next spring and will be ready to do so.

“It will be difficult, to say the least, but we believe when the opportunity arrives, someway or another, we’re going to put together a program where we can go back to offering recreational sports again,” Waldemar said. “We just don’t know what it’s going to be or what it’s going to look like.”