DINWIDDIE, Va. (WWBT) - Many areas have yet to allow high school sports teams to begin organized offseason activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Others are back to work, with limitations, of course, as the 2020 high school football season remains in limbo.
“As crazy as this is for me, I can’t imagine what it is for a 14-15 year old kid,” said Dinwiddie head football coach Billy Mills.
Mills and his Generals football team are beginning their third week of offseason conditioning and weight training. After submitting a safety plan and getting the go-ahead from the county, the squad began to pick things back up.
“However we had to do it, however we could make it happen, we just wanted to make sure that we got these guys away from reality for three hours a day,” Mills said.
Dinwiddie coaches and staff have broken the team up into groups, with a morning and afternoon session. Each group is then broken down into pods of three to four athletes. Temperatures are checked prior to each workout, players must practice social distancing during weight training and conditioning, but it’s all for a chance to feel a little bit of normalcy.
“It was like game day,” Mills said of the team’s return. “You thought they were getting ready to play. They were so happy and excited to be here and fired up to do whatever- anything.”
The head coach and his staff clean facilities frequently, set up weight machines and drills at a distance, and require all players to wear masks. If one athlete begins experiencing any symptoms that resemble possible coronavirus, the entire group of three or four players will remain at home.
“My job during this whole thing is just to kind of police it, make sure they keep their mask on, make they’re covering their nose, they’re staying six feet apart,” noted Mills. “We can only control what they do here for three hours but hopefully we’re getting them into some kind of routine that will help them going forward.”
A lot of unknowns are complicating the summer, including when and if the 2020 campaign will kickoff, but the Generals are looking at this as more than football. It’s a chance to be together in a climate of uncertainty.
“Regardless of whether we play in the fall, whether we play in the spring, or whether we don’t play at all, we’ll still have a football team here at Dinwiddie,” Mills said. “We’re going to continue to stay together and be a family and lean on each other and help each other through this whole thing.”
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