ROCHESTER, Minn. - Spring sports are officially underway in Minnesota and teams are beginning to finalize their rosters for the season. Century and Byron baseball report that they have seen an increase in participation, while other schools such as Lourdes and John Marshall told KIMT News 3 numbers are down this season.
“Numbers seem to be a little bit down right now,” said Steve Strickland, Lourdes Activities Director and head track coach. “I think some of it is because the seasons are going longer.”
Strickland says there is a variety of other reasons participation is on the decline, especially because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think some kids (and families) are still hesitant to go out and we’re going to work through it. When they’re ready, hopefully, we can get them going.”
Pandemic or not, “there’s always some sort of risk. You have COVID, you have injuries. There’s things that are always a risk,” Strickland added.
Still, coaches remain diligent in making sports as safe as possible in order to provide life-shaping opportunities for student-athletes.
“Our coaching staff is doing an excellent job of following all of the protocols and keeping everybody safe. I think as long as we do that, kids should feel safe.”
After all, being active and involved is important for an athlete's mental and physical health.
“I feel our student-athletes need to be busy,” Strickland said. “They need that distraction. School is challenging enough but for them to get out and be able to do things like this is definitely a positive experience for them.”
Strickland says he does expect somewhat of an increase in participation numbers during the next week.