With a new policy on what being fully vaccinated now means in the NWAC softball division, Coach Daryl “Grizz” Stevens is doing everything he can to prepare the Triton softball team for their upcoming season, despite the new rule being thrown his way.
Stevens, new to the Triton family, is doing everything in his power to keep his girls safe, as well as continuing on with the pre-season preparation.
With less than two months until game time, the Northwest Athletic Conference, also known as NWAC, decided on a new rule on what the term “fully-vaccinated” means.
As of Jan. 24, all players must have a full dose of one vaccine, as well as their booster, in order to be considered “fully-vaccinated.” Players who choose to not be vaccinated must wear a mask at all times, as well as test once a week in order to participate. Players who have had Covid-19 in the past 90 days will have a grace period of 90 days post infection. Once this period is over, they must either get the booster or get tested once a week.
Stevens’ only concern with the upcoming season is how this new rule will affect the eligibility of his players.
“The new rule will absolutely affect teams’ abilities to compete,” he said. “You could easily lose key players up to eight games that have not been boosted, due to close contact.”
Stevens then went on to say he respects that all of his players have a right to make this choice for themselves.
He strongly believes that with 11 returners and four freshmen, his team will be strong on the field and will go all the way to the NWAC championship tournament as long as the team stays healthy. In terms of what players should change in order to adapt to this new rule, the coach said the most important consideration is balance.
“The hardest part of all of this is trying to determine what you can do and how much of your life you should change to protect yourself and others,” he said. “There is a real balance of physical and mental health that needs to be considered.”
Stevens’ biggest worry coming into this season is how his girls will take care of themselves physically and mentally. The real challenge of stepping onto the field this season will be how quickly the team will be able to adapt and change on the fly.
The first game for the team is Feb. 26 on the Triton home field, beginning at 2 p.m.