All the checked boxes indicated a successful start.
Instead, Josh Phillips finds himself knocking out items on a lengthy “to-do” list inside the Mount Olive Parks and Recreation Department these days.
The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) health scare forced Phillips, the director of MOPRD, to suspend all youth, adult and senior adult functions, and practices until further notice.
Phillips hopes to restart April 6. That target date could change since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended social distancing and that no gathering should have more than 50 people present for the next eight weeks.
A “great” opening week of practice for T-ball, coach-pitch, baseball and softball had everyone eager to conquer the diamond this spring.
“Giving the coaches, parents and the kids the news of suspending play was hard to do, but necessary considering safety is always our first priority,” Phillips said.
More than 100 kids signed up and paid to play this spring.
Machine pitch and baseball are played through the Johnston/Wayne County Tar Heel League. The league includes fellow Wayne County teams Rosewood, Grantham and Faith Christian.
Softball games were planned for the weekends.
T-ball is an “in-house” sport.
Phillips said everyone is “waiting at this point,” including 14 teams in the adult basketball league. Tournament play began March 12 and four more nights are needed to determine the champion.
Senior activities - cards, pickle ball, bean bag baseball, kick start, bingo, line dancing and arts and crafts - are suspended.
“Everyone knows they can reach out to me with any questions or concerns,” Phillips said. “In sports we see our share of upset kids, parents and coaches. We also see things that are out of our hands such as rainouts, make-up games, rescheduling, forfeits and this unfortunate pandemic.
“We plan on embracing this challenge and we are hoping to continue all activities as soon as it is safe to do so.”