Beaverton Football coach Aaron Seiser has an eye on the future as we navigate the COVID-19 lockdown.

GLADWIN COUNTY – Are you ready for some good news? The infection rate seems to be slowing and the government is taking the first tentative steps toward reopening the economy. With that happening can sports be far behind?

The Associated Press (AP) reported Monday morning that a source within the National Basketball Association (NBA) indicates that the NBA will allow players to return to team training facilities starting next Monday providing that their local governments do not have stay-at-home orders prohibiting such movement. All workouts would be voluntary and limited to individual sessions. The NBA was the first United States professional organization to suspend its season back on March 12. It now looks like it will also be the first league to resume organized activities.

Hopefully this is good news for our local high schools. It is probably too late for the spring season, but fall remains a definite possibility. With that in mind several local teams have put together offseason programs to keep their athletes engaged. These programs also allow the coaches to check in with their players to make sure everyone is doing ok.

The Beaverton Football program has probably the most advanced engagement program. Coach Aaron Seiser has been very active on social media. “My job is to remain in contact with people and players,” he said. “I try to post something everyday.” He mentioned that when the lockdown first started he was taking workouts posted online and disseminating them to his players.

By touching base daily Seiser was encouraging his players to stay positive, be active and make healthy choices. As the lockout dragged on he realized that they needed to do more. Elementary school teacher Will Gaudard came up with the idea to use Google Classroom to keep the program organized.

 Using the Google Classroom the coaches are able to conduct a weekly meeting, which occurs on Wednesdays at 3:30. Beaverton students can access the meeting using their school email accounts. Other necessary materials can also be found in the Google Classroom including the weekly workout program. Actual “football coaching” cannot occur this time of year, but a wealth of information is available in the classroom. 

“Our goal is to have everybody in 6th through 12th grades involved,” said Seiser. “We are hoping to reach the majority of the kids and have them excited about the upcoming season.” Currently the one day camp at Clare scheduled for June 12 is still a go. The 7 on 7 schedule is also still on.

The Gladwin Volleyball team has also started their offseason program. Coach Tony Wetmore runs the offseason workouts that are open to all Gladwin female athletes. At this point those workouts are also going to be done individually to meet social distancing requirements. Wetmore will be relying on his four seniors to carry out the plan.

The participants have been divided into four groups of from 6-8 girls with one of the seniors in charge of each group. Wetmore plans to send out a different workout each day. They will be 20-30 minutes in length and will be taken from YouTube or other resources. The team leaders will disseminate the information and will be responsible for keeping tabs on the members of their group. “I am asking a lot of my seniors,” he said. “They are a nice group and I trust them because they are responsible.”

The group leaders are Taylor Vasher, Chloe Kokotovich, Delaney Cote and Emma Schwan. Each has individual strengths that made them logical choices to lead a group. Wetmore said the girls are excited to do something. They are bored and this will give them something meaningful to do. He hopes that putting the girls in charge will help hold the other athletes accountable. Wetmore has tried to contact all of the Gladwin female athletes, but knows that some have likely been missed. Any girl who wants to participate can contact one of the team leaders or Wetmore himself. His email address is anwetmore@gladwinschools.net.

Marc Jarstfer and the Gladwin Football program are also going to get started with some distance workouts in the near future. The team had developed some momentum in their offseason workout program before the lockdown.  When it first went into effect the coaching staff provided several different workout options that could be done at home.  After several weeks they decided to take a break.

Jarstfer is in the process of putting together a Google Classroom to conduct virtual meetings. He hopes that while they wait for the situation to pass his players will take advantage of the materials that the coaches are putting together to stay in both physical and mental shape. One of the early meetings while include a tentative schedule and virtual signup. So far the summer schedule is still a go, but it is to early to be sure. A trip to Montrose and multiple 7 on 7 competitions are still on the schedule.

Like the three other teams, the Beaverton Volleyball team, has a lot of athletes who would be playing other sports in the spring. With the cancellation of the spring schedule Coach Steve Evans is encouraging his players to keep active and get on a workout schedule. “We check in on them from time to time,” he said. The varsity team had been working out at the Beaverton Activity Center before the social distancing order went into effect and will get back into the weight room as soon as they can.

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