The Blair Chaos age 12 and younger softball team started practicing twice a week in January.
The players would meet once at the Blair Training Center, taking swings and cracking softballs in the batting cages, and then once more at local schools to work on their glove work.
The Chaos, coach Ashley Brown said, had a lot to work toward. They'd planned on a competitive, out-of-state travel tournament this summer.
That event was just the latest cancellation to come down. Brown said she'd just informed parents, but hadn't yet told the girls herself. It was going to be tough, but “they're troopers,” she added.
The Chaos have proven their fortitude since coronavirus precautions cut into their practice time during the past couple of months. Brown said coaches were looking for ways to keep their team active when they came across Softball Bingo cards.
In each square of the card, there are workouts, drills and activities for softball players to complete. Players are to complete one square a day, sending in video confirmation of their efforts to the ongoing team text chat — another effort to keep the team together through their time away.
Drill work includes swings off of a tee, sprints, glove work and throwing activities to name a few. But the Bingo cards also include directives to eat right and have fun. Making up home run dances, team cheers and chalking driveways are among the lighthearted ventures.
“It's been great in a lot of respects,” Brown said.
Once one card was full, the Chaos players received one they were to complete with an accountability partner. Their coach said players haven't been able to see each other lately, so the group text chat and workout video submissions have helped keep them together.
Brown said the hope is that they'll soon be together practicing and playing games, though, she admits, a lot of pieces will have to come together before that's possible.
The first came May 11 when Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced strict guidelines to bring back organized softball and baseball on June 1. But the guidelines, and insurance “on hold,” leaves the Blair softball team in a “standstill,” Brown said as of last week.
As her team has proven in recent months, though, the Chaos is always moving and working toward what's next.