Youth Sports Worry About Weathering Pandemic, and Future Play

“First, there is not going to be that kind of discretionary income out there,” said Dave Brown, who owns Basketball Stars of New York, which fields teams and camps for about 5,000 children. “And then, do you think private schools are going to rent me a gym to hold a camp for 60 kids in this environment?”

Indeed, until perhaps a vaccine is developed, some parents are going to reconsider letting their children play sports where proximity and contact are unavoidable. This perhaps presents an opening for individual sports like swimming and diving, golf and tennis, where athletes can be farther apart from one another.

Still, for youth sports operators, success is predicated on planning — venues need to be booked, coaches and officials hired, participant fees set and collected. When the lights go off in buildings, however, that structure and profits disappear. Next comes a feeling of helplessness.

Jerry Ford, the president of Perfect Game, said he has postponed “hundreds” of baseball tournaments and showcases. The company, an amateur baseball and softball scouting behemoth, hosts more than 1,000 events annually, the bulk of them over the summer months. With 100 full-time employees and thousands of part-time employees in flux, Ford said all he can do is wait and hope.

“It’s a mess — devastating,” said Ford, who founded the company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “There are going to be certain people not traveling anywhere this year and some that would be traveling right now if you’d let them. All we can do is be ready to go when this thing lifts.”

With a summer lacrosse season looking increasingly impossible to conduct, Boyle and his nine other full-time employees are trying to stay busy, amused and on brand by producing Trilogy Lacrosse Theater on their YouTube channel and uploading inspirational posts on their Instagram.

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