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From Little League to adult rec sports in Flagstaff, changes, cancellations abound

From Little League to adult rec sports in Flagstaff, changes, cancellations abound

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Pro, college and prep athletes are not the only athletes missing out on spring sports while dealing with the wait on whether summer has any organized athletics in store for the future.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, the city of Flagstaff recently announced that the spring adult recreational sports season has been nixed completely and that the summer activities are for now postponed. Jon Wilson, recreation manager for the city, said Friday that refunds for the canceled spring sports will be available.

The city also declared recently that it will "be canceling all previously approved spring/early summer 2020 field allocations and permits until further notice."

For instance, that means Little League teams that usually pay for usage of the city fields during this time would not be able to do so.

But the Little League season is on hold for now along with the city's summer sports, such as softball.

“All other leagues slated to start in the summer will be pushed back until we know more," Wilson said.

Pro running team NAZ Elite in Flagstaff is having to face scheduling issues, cancellations and changes in training. The NCAA not too long ago canceled the spring sports season entirely, and high schools are still in a holding pattern when it comes to athletics.

Little League International said in an updated statement this week that they recommend teams not practice or play until mid-May. Flagstaff Little League teams from the West Flagstaff Little League and Continental Little League programs were originally scheduled to open their season on April 18.

“West Flagstaff Little League has taken a cautious approach in adhering to the overall Little League International recommendations,” WFLL President Shane Welker said Friday.

Flagstaff Girls Softball Little League teams falls under those recommendations as well, and, according to a release on its Facebook page, will abide by the guidelines.

"We understand that there are questions and concerns about the upcoming season and, ultimately, we want to protect our FGSLL players and their families as well," the statement posted March 19 by league President Joe Pozar said. "Doing that means following the recommended action of postponing all Little League functions until 5/11/2020."

FGSFLL was supposed to start the season April 1.

Little League International wrote: "With the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Little League International Board of Directors and staff is now strongly advising all its local Little League programs to suspend/delay their Little League seasons through no earlier than Monday, May 11. We implore you to follow this recommendation and suspend all Little League activities through no earlier than May 11."

Little League International is the head operation for more than 6,500 programs in more than 84 countries.

Welker said he has received no resistance after releasing the league's decision to follow that of Little League International.

“The good things is that, I believe, for the most part that the community, the West Flagstaff Little League board, the families, they all understand that we are in unprecedented times and that this is a very unique situation that we are facing," he added.

Recreationalists out on the trails and in the city parks should note that the bathrooms at those locations will be off-limits for now. The city announced recently that all permanent restrooms in the city’s parks, including those in Heritage Square, are closed until further notice.

Hoops players based in Flagstaff who are in club season are also facing unknowns now as the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced on Wednesday that it was extending the temporary suspension of licensed AAU events through April 15.

"This is a decision that the AAU organization did not make lightly but one we strongly feel is in the best interest of everyone involved in AAU events," its release said.

The AAU season can be a chance for high school-aged players to get recognition from different levels of coaches, most often from the college ranks.

Despite the letdowns coming day after day, Welker said he recommends athletes of all shapes, sizes, gender and ages look for positive growth during the pause in action. 

“We are all united in this front to combat this virus right now, and doing within the best interests for the community overall, and the health and well-being of our kids’ and families, so it’s been a united front.”

Mike Hartman can be reached at 556-2255 or at mhartman@azdailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @AZDS_Hartman.

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