Sheridan Mystix

The Sheridan Mystix wait to start a game against the Torrington Thunder on Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Laramie. The Mystix finished in third place in the 12U rec division.

A few weeks ago, when the temperatures dropped and the wind blew in a couple snowy weekends in a row, the Sheridan Mystix softball team opted to cease outdoor practices for the year.

The coaches encouraged the girls to attend a few clinics hosted by Montana State University in Billings and offered to do lessons and practices in small groups, but for the most part the girls are on their own to stay sharp throughout the winter.

As coaches, we know most of the girls play other sports and therefore will remain active despite not playing softball. But most sports require more than hustle. They require skills specific to the game, a desire to learn and, of course, a love of the game.

Over the last several months, many of us have canceled plans or altered our goals to fit the circumstances. That got me thinking about how we can “train” in our “offseason.”

I’ve seen some great examples over the last few months that show how various entities are striving to remain sharp, despite their training routines being thrown a curveball.

For example, several nonprofits in the community have pivoted to online fundraisers or streaming events. The virtual 5Ks and other such events have been fun to see shared on Facebook over the span of a few weeks as participants completed the races on their own time. It raised awareness for a longer span of time than a 2-hour event may have.

The Center for a Vital Community has shifted its Community Conversation series to Zoom. While one may think some of the personal aspects of such conversations may be lost in digital translation, they’ve fared well. The conversations have remained rich, respectful and enriching. They’ll host another round in December aimed at bringing folks together to discuss the results of the recent election. It’s titled “Win or lose — Can we talk?” Check out the CVC website for more information.

We’ve all seen businesses pivot, too. Many restaurants now offer delivery and curbside service. Retail stores have also shifted gears, expanding their websites, offering curbside service and carrying items in high demand — masks of all sizes, for example.

Even places like child care facilities and nursing homes have adjusted. Nursing homes, for example, have sought to find new ways to keep their residents connected to friends and family when in-person visits have to be limited.

All of these changes and adjustments in our “off season” just mean we’ll be better prepared and better people, business owners, philanthropists and fill-in-the-blanks when we enter a season that allows us to work like we’re used to doing.

When the Sheridan Mystix take the field again in the spring, they’ll likely be a little rusty. The bumps and hiccups of playing on dirt and grass again, shading their eyes from the sun and working more closely as a team (as opposed to in small groups or one-on-one with coaches) will ultimately work out, though. Success will be possible based on the work they’re doing now in the offseason.

What work are you putting in now to prepare for the next season?

Kristen Czaban has worked with The Sheridan Press since June 2008, moving to Wyoming after graduating from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covered a wide range of beats before becoming editor in 2012 and publisher in 2017.

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