UPDATED: Workouts going smoothly thus far in ‘Bobcat Country’
EDITOR’S NOTE: Orangefield ISD released a statement Monday that workouts were canceled until further notice after a student athlete possibly may have been exposed to COVID-19.
ORANGEFIELD – It has been three months since athletes have been able to work out with their teammates and coaches due to the COVID-19 virus.
Athletes have been wishing to get back to it. That wish was granted as on June 8 the University Interscholastic League allowed athletes from across the state to begin workouts.
They are certainly thrilled to be back at Orangefield High School as Athletic Director and head football coach Josh Smalley and the coaching staff welcomed them back and the coaches were just as excited as the kids.
“It’s been great to see all of the kids and they are all so thrilled to be back with their friends and getting back to working out and getting back in shape,” said Smalley. “All of us coaches are glad to see those smiling faces. We’ve had an excellent turnout thus far.”
The times are certainly different as coaching staff continue to monitor kids and keep them safe.
Coach Smalley was checking each athlete’s temperature before they entered the weight room Monday morning.
The UIL put forth a slew of rules that school districts must abide by and some of the other key rules include no clothing or towels may be laundered on site or shared during workouts and there can be no shared water or food. Athletes may be placed in working groups no larger than 15 total students. Each working group should maintain appropriate distance from other working groups.
For the Orangefield coaching staff, they were eager to meet the challenge, and that includes all of the sanitation that has to take place as different groups come in an out of the facilities.
“The top priority is to keep the kids safe and we’re doing what ever it takes to make it happen,” said Smalley. “We were preparing ever since the UIL said we could start working out on June 8.”
Smalley is definitely proud to see the upbeat faces.
“I have felt for all the kids because they have basically been cooped up for the most part for three months,” said Smalley. “That’s tough for anybody, believe me, I have missed seeing people like our coaches, friends and family during all of this. Teenagers, though, you know they were antsy and bored during this.”
Different age groups that come in or coming in with much larger numbers as well.
“This part of summer is when many people are usually out on vacation with their families and we would still have a pretty good turnout over the years,” said Smalley. “This year, more people are staying home or not going far and more and more kids are showing up. The first week went really well and it’s all about getting back into things slowly. It’s definitely a different kind of schedule for the kids and the coaches but it’s been awesome to see everyone again.”
The UIL will lessen the restrictions again June 22 when indoor capacity can grow along with group sizes.
Orangefield High School has the following workout schedule to make sure social distancing stays intact.