We have said this time and time again, but all of us have been affected by the COVID-19 in some way. This current lockdown extension is just another chapter in this crazy time in history. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the joy our hobbies bring and, for most of the readers here, baseball reigns supreme. This holds true for the kids that just want to play this summer. This is the experience from one of the players of the Tecumseh Thunder: Andrew Langlois.
Andrew Langlois is a catcher for the AAA 18U Thunder and has been one of the many players who have had organized team practices cut as a result of the provincial shutdown. “Baseball is the thing that I look forward to the most in summer,” Langlois said when describing his relationship with baseball. Last summer was a year that cost many players a year of their development, and Langlois was no exception. “I was very frustrated when I found out about the cancelling of baseball because I haven’t played a season in around 2 years.”
As a result of team practices being shut down, Langlois has had to resort to practicing at home. “At home, I have been working out around 5 times a week”, Langlois stated. “I am hitting balls off of a tee and working on defensive work about 3 times a week.” Langlois isn’t alone in working out at home as almost all players have had to incorporate some resemblance of team training in order to maintain game shape for whenever the season will be ready to start. Perhaps, due to the extra training time, we may see players even stronger than usual as they haven’t had to have the same amount of scheduled off-days with pure baseball-related activities.
While on-field performance is important, the social aspect of sports is a huge motivator for kids to continue playing baseball growing up. Every summer, kids get back together to strengthen their friendships or create new ones as new players join the team. “I definitely miss my teammates,” Langlois said. ”I have played with a couple of these guys since I was around the age of 4 but most of them are new teammates of mine.” In a year where many friends only saw each other through a Zoom screen, the lack of time together playing baseball is a difficult obstacle for those who just want to hang with their friends like they used to.
Andrew Langlois also has to battle with a different kind of schooling than most of us grew up with. “School is online for me right now,” said Langlois. “I do not like it nearly as much for multiple reasons: it is way harder to pay attention and I do not get to see my friends every day.” We sometimes forget about the struggles away from the baseball diamond, but these little micro-problems build up into something that can take a toll on you mentally. “The COVID lockdown is a tough thing mentally because it is mostly school work with not much social time and when the lockdowns get extended, it is definitely a big mood killer.”
Life isn’t all bad though during these COVID times. In his free time, Langlois gets to act like a regular teenager, including playing video games, playing basketball at his house, and even researching options for post-secondary school. “I am not sure where I want to go yet but I have a couple options in mind.”
I’m sure we all want to jump to a time when all of this craziness is behind us and Andrew Langlois is certainly in that boat. “I am so excited for this season to get started because it feels like I haven’t played competitively in forever,” Langlois said. As more of us are getting vaccinated and the weather begins to get warmer, hope is beginning to set in that normal may be just around the corner. Back to playing baseball and getting life back on track. “I hope the lockdowns get lifted soon and we can start things back up!”