Youth sports organizations frustrated about delayed start dates
Before Governor Laura Kelly announced Phase 1.5 of reopening, youth sports could have started this Monday. Now, the earliest organized sports facilities, tournaments, and practices can begin is June 1.
Director of Operations for the Wichita Sluggers, Tonto Baxley, has been sanitizing equipment for weeks. It was in preparation for the baseball and softball academy to reopen Monday
Now that Governor Kelly has pushed back Phase 2, adding Phase 1.5, that won't happen for 2 more weeks.
"We were anticipating on opening, and everyone was gearing up, and the kids were excited too, and everyone was ready to get going." Baxley said. "And then they tell us we can't do it, but gyms can. And we're very similar. I just want someone to explain that to me."
If Phase 2 were to have started on time, fitness centers would have been able to open Monday, May 18, without group classes and locker rooms.
Baxley says he, the coaches, and parents at his academy are frustrated. He says to the kids, the academy is their gym.
"The farmers market is open and there's 200 people there neck to neck, side by side, hardly anyone wearing masks. But I can't bring 9 to 10 kids into my facility that I know personally, and know their family, and work with those kids? It's the same thing as going to Lowes or Home Depot, or going out to dinner. I could bring 10 people and sit at a table and that's okay?" Baxley said.
Other youth sports organizations feel the same frustrations. Dylan Gruntzel, a soccer coach with Kansas Rush Wichita, says the news is disappointing.
"I think a lot of us were surprised by it." Gruntzel said. "You never heard of Phase 1.5 until it came out, so it was a shock to us."
While shocked, Gruntzel says he doesn't want to rush things.
"It's frustrating. You can't train your teams, and parents pay for a product you can't get because of everything going on, but I think we have a good understanding of why. And while yes, we want to be with out teams, safety is one of our primary concerns." Gruntzel said.
Both organizations tell KWCH their athletes just want to play the sports they love.