The temperature is warm and the sky is blue, showing only the slightest possibility of rain.
Cars pull up and kids jump out, some carrying gloves or other baseball equipment. They have a seat in one of the lawn chairs set 6-feet apart outside the fence behind the dugout of a baseball field in Westlake’s Clague Park.
For a moment last week at the spacious park with five ball diamonds, it was almost like the world hadn’t come to a halt for three months and most organized sports canceled — along with community fairs, fireworks, summer festivals and parades. Children gathered in the park at Clague Road and Hilliard Boulevard to play Westlake Demons baseball.
But there were subtle changes and obstacles to overcome. For example, Westlake Demons coach Bob Colacarro, during practice for the Cuyahoga Valley Baseball Association team, talked about the difficulty of enforcing social-distancing rules when working with youngsters who just want to play baseball.
As he tosses the ball back and forth with two fellow players, Jack Colacarro, 10, gives a reporter a look when asked if he is glad to be back on the field with friends and teammates.
“Of course,” he said. “It’s awesome.” Jack is Coach Colacarro’s son.
Jack clearly was happy to be outside. “I miss my friends,” he said, adding that doing school work at home is easier than doing work in class.
This is Colacarro’s first year as head coach of the Demons, a traveling baseball squad. He was an assistant coach the past two years. His players are all 10 or younger. Social distancing is a repeated topic of conversation with his players during warm ups for the practice, or scrimmage, game that evening against the Avon 3 Outs.
Colacarro noted that he and his 11-member team must follow numerous other rules besides social distancing. They cannot use the dugout. They cannot share equipment. No high-fives allowed. Colacarro laughed as he noted sunflower seeds and chewing gum are banned.
“Of course, absolutely,” Colacarro said, almost echoing his son, when asked if he’s glad to be back on the field.
The Demons lost that evening's scrimmage to the Avon team 9-8. Colacarro said the score really didn’t matter.
“The scrimmage was good,” he said. “The point was to get in some practice against another team.”
The Demons will play about 20 games this year.
“I love doing this,” Colacarro said of coaching. “There are restrictions this time, but we will just follow the rules and deal with them.”
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