May 27, 2020
Earlier this month after reviewing the results of our parent survey we began discussing a roadmap for a potential return to play. As you all are aware, the dynamics surrounding this pandemic are unprecedented and constantly evolving. We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our players, parents, coaches and their families is our top priority. That has not changed.
This pandemic has affected every family – and every team -- differently. While the family of a younger player might decide the risks aren’t worth playing this summer, an 18u player, who has lost out on her high school season and graduation, might look at things differently. We understand the physical and mental benefits a return to softball will have on our players, but also realize that decision comes with additional risks.
With this in mind, we are leaving the decision to return to play up to each individual family. Following the state’s move to Phase 3 later this week we will be allowing a return to team activities on June 1 for those interested. Phase 3 allows for gatherings of ten socially distanced people or less (including coaches) which will mean split practices for our teams as well as adherence to the guidelines we have put in place in consultation with USSSA, USA Softball, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the National Federation of High School Associations, the Aspen Institute as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Health.
There are two waivers that need to be signed for your daughter to return to play. The first acknowledges that you are aware of the additional risks that accompany your daughter’s return to team activities on June 1. The second waiver goes one step further, adding that you accept the potential risks should your team elect to compete outside our state or region to compete.
By June 12, we anticipate allowing teams that have a minimum of nine athletes who have electronically signed their travel waivers to be allowed to compete outside our state or region should they elect to do so. At these tournaments, teams will be expected to obey the laws and restrictions of the region or state where the competition is being held.
Although out-of-state competition might not affect many of you, we have multiple teams with previously scheduled out-of-state tournaments that have not been canceled or postponed. Without refunds from those tournaments in-hand, we may not be able to register those teams for alternative local tournaments, should they be allowed to take place. In other words, it is important to understand your team’s tentative schedule, as choosing to play in-region only may not be a viable option for every team.
In cases where teams do not have a minimum of nine players who have elected to compete or travel outside the area we will do our best to combine teams of a similar age group and talent level with the understanding that it may be impossible to do so.
It is important to understand there is zero obligation here. We have made it clear to our coaches that any pressure put on players or families to participate or travel out of the region when a family may not be comfortable doing so will not be tolerated. We have doctors, nurses, and other medical and emergency personnel in our Diamonds family. We will respect everyone’s decision, whatever that decision may be. And there will be zero penalties for coaches or players who elect not to return to play or compete outside our region.
At your earliest convenience, please review these documents with your daughter and make your decision as a family. No player will be allowed to return to team activities without the first waiver, nor compete outside of our region without the second.
We know this is a lot to digest and again, appreciate your patience and understanding while we try to navigate this complicated time.
Board of Directors
April 26, 2020
We hope that this note finds you and your family healthy and well. After the most recent developments regarding the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home orders we wanted to update you on our evaluation process for returning to the field as well as the discussions we have had about potential refunds.
Our Board of Directors met this week and our goal remains the same as it was the day we made the difficult decision to pause operations: to resume our seasons as safely as possible, as soon as possible. With the governor extending the stay-at-home order until May 30 we know play won’t resume until June at the absolute earliest.
We will be following the guidelines from the state of Illinois, the City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District in deciding when to allow teams to return to play. If and when the state’s stay-at-home order is relaxed and both city and Park District officials re-open parks and make fields available we will allow Diamonds teams to resume play under a new set of guidelines and safety protocols.
We are currently constructing those guidelines in consultation with the Park District, the CDC and other area travel organizations. The Park District has discussed everything from umpires and coaches wearing masks to temperature checks and limiting the number of fans allowed to watch games or girls allowed in the dugout. Whatever is ultimately decided, there is sure to be a new normal, with the safety of the players, coaches, umpires and all of their families the utmost priority. We will need to be flexible, understanding and appreciative of the opportunity to play softball, whatever it may look like.
For now, plans continue for our annual USA Softball Queen of Diamonds national qualifier the first two weeks of June. We are also exploring a modified schedule for our Chips program and speaking with SWS leadership to determine their contingency plans. But again, the first step is the governor relaxing the stay-at-home orders and the park district opening its fields.
Although we have not yet pinned down exact dates we plan to hold tryouts for the 2020-21 season in late July/early August. Spirit wear orders have also been delayed as many of our suppliers have been considered non-essential. As soon as those orders arrive they will be delivered.
Lastly, we want to address the topic of potential refunds of player fees. Although it is typically Diamonds policy not to offer refunds the board agreed this week that all recoverable unused tournament fees should be returned to families. In other words, if your team has three $600 May tournaments canceled and all three of those tournaments provide full refunds (and those funds are not used for other events), each family would split $1800. On a 12-player team each family would then receive $150.
The same principles would apply for SWS league fees that are refunded or other round robins that are not played and refunded. Though we are still finalizing details, refunds will likely be provided in the form of a credit applied to a player’s 2020-21 fees. For those who leave the organization or age-out we would send a refund check no later than mid-October.
We are committed to doing everything we can to recover fees from canceled tournaments, round robins or other events. The majority of governing bodies and national youth sports organizations have instructed tournament organizers to provide full tournament refunds. But should a tournament elect not to follow these guidelines those funds will not be available to pass on to our families. In addition, refunds will only be provided to families in good financial standing with the organization.
In closing, we appreciate your understanding and flexibility through these past six weeks. This is an incredibly difficult time for all of us that goes far beyond softball. But here’s hoping that in another six weeks we will all be safely at a field somewhere, on a sun-drenched summer afternoon, watching our favorite Diamonds. Should you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to board president Bryan McNamara at email@example.com.
Board of Directors
We hope that you and your family are safe, healthy and doing as well as possible during these unprecedented times. We all miss softball so incredibly much. With temperatures forecast to climb into the 60s and 70s in the coming week our longing for the game is sure to only grow stronger.
But with Governor Pritzker’s announcement on Tuesday that he is extending his statewide stay-at-home order until April 30 we will be extending our suspension of all Naperville Diamonds team activities until at least that date. This is for the safety of not only our players, families and their friends, but for strangers to which we could unknowingly pass along the coronavirus.
We will continue to lean on the advice of our state and local leaders, as well as area schools, park districts and travel sports organizations to determine when it is safe for our teams to return to the field. As much as we miss the game, it is the safety of our community that is paramount.
For now, all Naperville Park District facilities, including all fields, are closed indefinitely. We are optimistic that we will still be able to hold our 9th annual Queen of Diamonds Tournament beginning the first weekend in June.
We appreciate your patience and understanding and wish your family the best. Should you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to Diamonds president Bryan McNamara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board of Directors
March 13, 2020
Today our board made the decision that we will be suspending all organized Naperville Diamonds team activities effective immediately in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means no team practices, workouts, 6-on-6 scrimmages or tournaments until at least April 6. We are also canceling Sunday’s CHIPS evaluations and any lessons that take place at the Diamond Mine.
We agreed to this decision in response to Indian Prairie 204, Naperville Community 203 and several other area school districts deciding Friday to close their schools and cancel all extracurricular activities until that same date. The Naperville Park District has also suspended all programs. We discussed this decision with several other travel organizations in the area who are also taking the same precautions.
As disappointing as it is to temporarily cease preparations for the upcoming season, it is our responsibility to put the health and well-being of not only our players, coaches and families, but our entire community, first. The board will meet again Monday night to discuss various contingency plans moving forward as well as a plan for placing Chips girls onto teams for the upcoming season. We will continue to communicate with you throughout this process.
This is unchartered territory for all of us and we greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during these unusual times. Please continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Health and keep your family safe. We all love this game and surely will be as excited as ever when our teams return to the field.
Naperville Diamonds Board of Directors
March 12, 2020
As we continue to navigate through this unprecedented time, our Board of Directors wants you to know we are closely monitoring the situation and communicating regularly with area school districts and travel sports programs.
Our board gathered tonight and for the time being we have elected to keep the Diamond Mine open for scheduled practices and lessons, following the guidance of area schools that as of now remain open.
Having said that, we urge our families to adhere to the following guidelines:
- If any player OR member of their immediate family is not feeling well or suffering from a fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing or body aches do not come to practice.
- Only players will be allowed in the Diamond Mine for practice. Parents and family members, we ask that you drop your daughter off and return to the Diamond Mine to pick up your daughter at the time practice is scheduled to conclude. Parents and family members who are not coaches will be asked to leave the facility.
- All players will be asked to sanitize or wash their hands with the antibacterial soap provided in the bathrooms both before AND after practice.
- Any player or family member who is not comfortable with their daughter practicing should not practice. There will be absolutely no repercussions from your coach.
- Any coach not wishing to hold practice should feel free to cancel as well.
In addition, we have canceled this weekend’s 6-on-6 scrimmages and are currently discussing how to best handle Sunday’s CHIPS evaluations.
We realize every situation with every family is unique. Our worlds are changing by the minute. The board will gather again Friday afternoon to reassess the situation and see what adjustments, if any, should be made moving forward.
We appreciate your patience and understanding through these unchartered waters and pledge to continue communicating with you as soon as we know more and further decisions have been made.
Naperville Diamonds Board of Directors
March 11, 2020
Dear Diamonds players, parents, families,
As all of us are aware, COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has prompted caution at sporting events and other large public gatherings both domestically and abroad. No matter your personal opinion on the issue, we can all agree that the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, families and those we care about is always of the greatest importance.
We want you to know we are keeping close tabs on the situation and encourage everyone to follow the recommendations of our local, state and federal leaders by thoroughly washing your hands, staying home if you are sick and avoiding close contact with those who are sick.
We will be increasing the frequency with which we clean and disinfect the Diamond Mine while also providing additional soap in our bathrooms and hand sanitizer in the lobby. We encourage our players to either wash their hands or use sanitizer before and after every practice or lesson.
We are also suggesting, for the time being, that our teams avoid shaking hands with opponents. Obviously a post-game handshake is a longstanding tradition and the sincerest form of sportsmanship, but based on the recommendation of the medical community, we are recommending a glove-tap or elbow bump in its place. We are also encouraging our coaches to carry hand sanitizer as part of their first aid kit and to make it available to players who wish to use it.
Lastly, if a player, parent or sibling isn’t feeling well, please stay home. Our coaches have been instructed to be flexible and understanding during this time. We need to remember as much as we love the game and are eager and excited about the upcoming outdoor season, a healthy and safe environment for our Diamonds family is our top priority.
Thank you for your understanding. Should you have any further questions please feel to reach out anytime.
Naperville Diamonds President