No stinking virus is going to get in the way of Southern Softpaw League. For the 12th year and with a flurry of new rules and regulations amid COVID, Opening Day of the seven-week season benefiting animal charities is scheduled for Saturday.
“We want our players to have fun, but more importantly, we want to keep them as safe as possible,” said Kenny DeLeon, SSL Founder and League Governor. “Our COVID-19 rules, such as mandatory temperature checks and face masks, are based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health.”
The league even had a doctor approve the safety guidelines, and Cobb County Parks & Rec also approved the guidelines before issuing permits for the games to be played in Nickajack Park in Mableton. There’s even a COVID Prevention Safety team scheduled for each Saturday of play.
Masks will be required off the field (optional on the field) or anywhere social distance cannot be maintained. Armbands will be worn by all players and guests to show they passed a temperature check. Additional measures include expanded dugouts, sanitized game balls, plus hand sanitizer and extra masks provided by the league.
And sorry sports fans, in-person socials like sign-ups, beer busts and Opening Ceremonies are off this year.
But wth every curveball 2020 throws, clearing obstacles is worth it to get back to the fun and the fundraising SSL is known for, especially after gay softball in Atlanta was called off entirely for the spring and summer, he said.
“After several months of isolation, working from home and other anxieties brought on by the pandemic, people are ready to see old friends again and make new ones,” DeLeon said. “Our sister league, Hotlanta Softball, had to cancel because of the virus, so people are ready to get back onto the field – but in a safe way.”
And remember, Fall Ball is about furry friends, too. DeLeon added that SSL has donated more than $35,000 to local animal charities since its 2009 inception.
“The money we raise is donated to local animal charities, which need our support more than ever because the pandemic has caused an overall decrease in charity donations,” he said. “Our dedicated board … were unanimous in wanting to continue the season to support this worthy cause.”
Find Southern Softpaw League online at southernsoftpaw.com.