BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Sports are slowly coming back to Bryan-College Station, and with them, many athletes and fans.
“We followed the guidelines laid out by Governor Abbott, so once those were released that we were opening back up in Texas to host youth sports and adult sports, those were what we started with. And then having those conversations with the event organizer to finalize dates," said College Station Parks and Rec Tourism supervisor Katie Kwiatkowski.
During the quarantine, business slowed down in the community and sports is one catalyst to recovering the economy.
"This was a new normal and we were wanting to be the forefront of that recovery process, that restart process. We saw the opportunity that sports could make a big splash on that and we’re just hoping that these events will keep some doors open, keep some extra dollars in our community. Bringing in fresh bodies and bodies from outside, these visitors, is going to go a long way to fill that void," said Experience BCS sports and event director Dominique Powell.
While the pandemic is still ongoing, event organizers have taken extra steps to make sure everyone stays healthy.
“We’re going to take the temperatures of every athlete, and officials, and coaches, and then anybody who has a temperature of 100 degrees or more will not be allowed to participate. Staff will wear masks. We strongly recommend anyone attending to wear masks. It is not a mandatory requirement but it is a strong recommendation to do so," said Primetime CEO David Stephens.
The traditional way sports are played may also face changes because of the pandemic.
“The umpire needs to remain six feet behind the batter and catcher. Face masks are encouraged. We’ll have them available for anyone who doesn’t have one. The dugout, they’re encouraging us to not have more than four people in the dugout, and the rest standing behind the dugout when the team is batting. It’s just where we are today. We haven’t played in 12 weeks because of this pandemic and these are the steps we need to follow to be able to play now. It’s just the new new," said Lonestar Softball owner Greg Hutchinson.
Bryan-College Station will host a 7 on 7 tournament and a softball festival this weekend. It is estimated to bring in more than four to five thousand athletes to town.