Created: April 25, 2021 01:51 AM
(ABC 6 News) - After being completely virtual this time last year, the Rochester Flyers are finally back in person for spring sports.
The organization was one week away from starting basketball practices last year then the pandemic shut it down. The Flyers went from 70 athletes with the regular practice to about 13 athletes with the virtual option, according to the co-head of delegation for Special Olympics Leann Bieber.
"It was really hard to try and figure out how to facilitate those connections," Flyers Coach Bobbie Cremer said. "We did a lot of Zoom meetings which are really fun. We did some Google Earth exploring, a lot of games, a good helping of hangman but it's just the same. You can't replicate a basketball practice over a Zoom meeting so it turned into more of a social thing."
Now that the team is back in person they are following all necessary COVID-19 precautions, which include keeping the athletes socially distanced, meaning they can't pass to each other and they each have their own ball.
"Most of the practices are kept to a maximum of 10 people at a practice at a time," Bieber said.
Before the athletes are allowed into the gym for practice, "we have to screen them as they come in for temperatures, all the COVID questions, so it's just been a little more restrictive that way," Flyers Coach Taylor Schroder added.
The team has been practicing for about a month and from the looks, and sounds of it, they are more than happy to back in person. Even though there are restrictions in place, "I am really excited because we actually get to play, a little bit, well kind of normal...We still wear masks to be safe," Andrew Ward, an athlete with the Flyers said.
And making sure this season happened was a whole team effort, which is not going unnoticed by some of the athletes.
"All the parathletes, and coaches and all the people that made this happen, we've been waiting for this for a long time," Katie Dowdell said.
This year, the Flyers will hold a local invitational for their spring sports which is set for May 25, 2021.
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