Coaching takes on new role during Coronavirus crisis

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Some of the Everett High School softball coaches and athletes share a socially distant moment on a Zoom chat.

By LORENZO RECUPERO

It’s the first week of May, it’s just after 2:30pm, the sun is shining and ballparks around the city are filling with young athletes waiting to stretch their muscles and show their stuff on the diamond.

Longtime Crimson Tide softball coach Stacy Schiavo is rolling ground balls to the infielders while her assistants toss balls to batters standing ready at home plate stationed just steps below the main entrance of Everett High School.

Outfielders call to each other to recover the balls battered by contact while Schiavo shouts a reminder of form to a group of girls taking swipes at the balls rolling their way.

That scene was common last year.

This year, there’s no such scene to be seen.

Instead of softball and sunshine on the diamond, the spring of 2020 is sport-less as playing fields remain closed to the public.

Athletes and coaches alike are being forced to remain apart while remaining active.

In essence, coaches are not coaching this season. At least not in the traditional ways that we consider normal.

Coaching on the field this spring has forcibly taken a benching to coaching from afar. Something coach Schiavo and her staff have tried their best to do at a time when being close is hard.

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Sports is now a waiting game

MIAA officially cancels spring schedule

By LORENZO RECUPERO

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association (MIAA) announced the cancellation of the 2019-2020 spring high school sports season Friday.

Here’s the official statement released on their website:

“In accordance with Governor Charles Baker’s announcement Tuesday that Massachusetts schools will be closed to in person learning for the remainder of the school year, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regretfully has cancelled all spring sports and spring tournaments.

Today’s decision by the MIAA Board of Directors was difficult, disappointing, and one that was deferred for several weeks as Association staff, Association members from the Tournament Management Committee (TMC) and the Board worked aggressively to construct optional structures to save the opportunity for our MIAA 80,000 student-athletes to enjoy a spring season.

Despite this disheartening but unavoidable action, it is paramount to applaud our constituents, principals, athletic directors, coaches and student-athletes for their positive power of example and cooperation during this unprecedented crisis. The “life lessons” inherent in the games we play will be our resiliency to provide mental and physical strength to focus on the discipline and teamwork to make a difference in the challenging chapters in the Game of Life. #OneTeamOneMIAA. Stay Well.”

The MIAA’s decision to cancel high school sports was inevitable once Governor Baker announced all Mass. schools would close for the remainder of the academic year but waiting for the news wasn’t nearly as tough actually as getting it.

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Patriots trade Gronkowski for fourth round draft pick

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Tight end joins Tom Brady in Tampa Bay: says he’s ready to play again

BY LORENZO RECUPERO

In a development completely shocking to all New England sports fans, Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is back from retirement.

But his return won’t be spent with the Patriots.

The entire NFL world was rattled again by news coming out of New England. First it was the greatest quarterback to ever play the game who made his departure, and now the greatest tight to ever play the game will officially be picking up his things and moving on as well.

After flirting with a return for a full season and play- ing with the emotions of all New Englanders, Gronk announced Tuesday he will come out of retirement — to play ball with Tom Brady down south.

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Schools closing ends spring sports

BY LORENZO RECUPERO

In what really isn’t much of a surprise decision, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced all private and public schools in the state will be closed for the remainder of the academic school year. The announcement has forced the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) to reconvene and address the spring high school sports season.

Previously, the MIAA announced a tentative plan to hold a shortened spring sports season with 8–12 games scheduled per team from May 4 through June 27, including an approved playoff format that would crown sectional champions based on region rather than an overall state champion like years past.

But since schools will no longer open in May, and other states also clamping their school doors for the academic year, that plan will need to be re-evaluated or squashed all together in what surely will be an unprecedented moment for the MIAA and high school sports across the state and country.

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The quarantined athlete

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Shayna Foppiano (above) during a night of professional boxing promoted by Boston Boxing. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso)

By Lorenzo Recupero

Athletes all over the country and beyond and right here in Everett have all had their sports careers come to an abrupt stop as a result of Covid-19 emergency actions. From the city’s high school and younger athletes, to the professionals such as local boxer Shayna Foppiano, lifestyles have changed and when they will return to normal is kind of an unknown.

In a cell phone conversation recently, Foppiano shared what she does know about staying active and possibly ‘reinventing’ yourself during the time of coronavirus and quarantines. From studying film to getting loved ones involved, here’s her take on it all.

What’s your mindset through all this? How are you able to tell yourself as an athlete to keep working your hardest even though you won’t be able to compete?

I personally don’t feel like it’s difficult to keep active every day during all of this – In fact, I think of this time as an advantage. Of course, it’s hard not being able to go to the gym and use the bags and train with my team and coach, but on the upside now I have all of this free time out of work to train. I’ve been studying a lot of boxing film while I’m inside and making sure I work out in some way for 2-3 hours a day. I crave the structure and my body feels awful when I’m not working out regularly.

Has social distancing effected your workouts with not having your trainer and usual equipment? If so, how have you supplemented that loss?

Not having my team and coach has definitely altered my workouts but I’m making sure they still are boxing focused. My husband has been holding the pads for me a few times a week so that’s been helpful. I also started running more every day, which is great because my coach told me that I needed to “fall in love with running”- what better time than now.

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