Bedtime stories have replaced ballgames this spring for Champlain Valley baseball coach Tim Albertson.
But what he can see as a silver lining to a canceled season might not be as clear to his two young daughters, Hadley, 7, and Juliette, 4. The blond duo are fixtures at CVU games and — pound-for-pound, at least — the Redhawks’ two biggest fans.
“I couldn’t tell you who was more disappointed,” Albertson said. “They couldn’t wait to come to the first day of pitchers and catchers. They were so excited.”
They aren’t the only ones, which is particularly tough for Albertson, 38, whose role as a campus supervisor at the Hinesburg school would normally see him interacting with hundreds of seniors navigating the home stretch of their high school careers.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out all of it — games, bus rides, banquets, prom.
“Think about all those things we took for granted … those events, those senior games, those little moments, you look back now and it means a lot,” he said. “It is really upsetting.”
Albertson’s 10 seniors on the baseball team, eager to defend last year’s Division state championship? They’ve had their season reduced to Google hangouts, texts and emails.
“They’ve now had that taken away from them — a season that could’ve been an opportunity,” Albertson said. “Think about Storm Rushford — he had such a breakout last year, doing things we had thought we’d see when we kept him as a freshman.”
Through some combination of habit, optimism and duty, Albertson spent what would’ve been the first month of the season visiting CVU’s field twice a week to pull weeds, tend to the infield, work on the new pitcher’s mound.
Add some friendlier spring weather this year and the diamond looks as good as it ever has, ready for a game to break out. That fact hit home like a double down the line during a conversation Tuesday evening — Tuesday usually being a game day for the Redhawks.
“We would’ve played Burlington today,” Albertson said wisftully.
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