Last Tuesday was a high moment for the Splendora softball team.
In a spring break day game at Atascocita, a state-ranked Class 6A program just two years removed from a state championship, the Class 4A Ladycats, also state-ranked, made a big statement with a 13-0 win.
But since that amazing accomplishment a week ago, the nation has changed. Coronavirus cases are on the rise, including many in Greater Houston. The national sports scene started shutting things down the middle of last week as all the major professional leagues suspended their seasons. March Madness was canceled. As was The Masters.
Splendora ISD announced late last week that school would be off for this week, March 16-20, and the UIL followed with an announcement that games and activities have been suspended through March 29.
The hope for high school athletes is that something can be salvaged when it comes to their seasons.
“We have a lot of good things going right now here in Splendora,” Splendora athletic director and head football coach Marcus Schulz said in a phone interview Monday. “Both baseball and softball … both soccer teams are in the playoffs … powerlifting — both boys and girls are sending multiple kids from regionals into state. Everything we have going on is going great right now. We wanted to ease our kids’ minds.”
Wildcat athletes aren’t giving up hope. And this week, while school is out and organized practices through the school won’t be held (use of school facilities aren’t available either), athletes are continuing to work entirely on their own.
Schulz, along with members of his coaching staff, came up with a game plan to keep Splendora athletes moving at home and maintaining the level they were at when everything shut down last week.
“As a staff, I got together with a couple of my coordinators who are helping with our offseason on the male athlete side,” Schulz explained. “Matt Riordan and Clay Mayo and myself kind of got together and put together a workout that would fit all of our athletes. Our male and female, junior high and high school.”
Every individual student might not have equipment at home, so the work is mostly void of resources.
“We tried to put something out there that would be able to reach all of our athletes for something they could do at home with limited access that our athletes would have,” Schulz said. “Gyms and tracks and those types of things together.”
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the area focused on is lower body. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s an upper-body workout. If athletes have access to weights, they can be added to some of the drills.
With warmups at the beginning and agility and speed work at the book end, the total workout should last about 45 minutes.
“Some of this stuff we are already doing,” Schulz said. “Some of the terminology and drills that we have our workouts sent out. Our kids kind of know what we expect. We wanted to put it out there as quick as possible.”
With social distancing being suggested to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the workouts are constructed with athletes not needing a spotter or partner help.
Schulz is utilizing Google Classroom where he can keep track of who is viewing the workout. By monitoring it, Schulz as well as other members of the coaching staff can help student-athletes with any questions.
“It just gives us an open line of communication with our athletes,” Schulz said. “So hopefully they are getting as much out of this unfortunate situation as possible.”
Splendora ISD was also set to begin a meal program on Tuesday that will initially run through this week.
The best case scenario is sports returning in a few weeks. Schulz explained that with makeup games, that could mean the Wildcats baseball and softball teams might have to play up to four games in a week. Being in shape will be paramount.
“With the UIL putting out the message they put out that they are going to try to accommodate and get in as many as our spring sports possible and to crown state champions and still compete, that’s kind of what we’re still preaching,” Schulz said. “This is just a moment in time and we have to continue to prepare and be ready. It might be all alone and at home, we have to continue to work on the things that we need to work on and all the fundamentals that we can to keep ourselves in shape.”
The goal is when normalcy returns, Splendora and the surrounding communities will be ready.
“All athletes keep themselves safe, stay healthy and continue to work,” Schulz said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that we’re in. But as everything else — hurricanes or tropical storms or anything else — we’re going to stay strong, stay positive and deal with it as it comes. We’ll make the best that we can out of it.”