Manitowoc's Steavpack: 'We are all in this together'

High school athletes will be able to return to workouts on July 1. (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- This coming Wednesday high school athletes and coaches can gather in small groups for organized workouts, which will be the first of any kind since COVID-19 shut down high school sports during the basketball postseason.

It hopefully will be the first step in returning to a full slate of sports this fall, in addition to schools being open.

Manitowoc athletics director Dave Steavpack doesn't know what to expect down the road, but said the best approach will be work together to get back on the field or court.

"We are all in this together," Steavpack said. "This is not one organization that's going to determine whether we have fall sports, let alone if we have winter sports or spring sports. Things that are out of your control, there's no much you can do about.

"I feel good about that school districts will open up in some shape or form starting in July and as kids and coaches and parents understand those protocols and those protocols are followed we hope to move it into the next part which is August when we're opening for fall sports."

For the past three-plus months kids have been confined to their homes, finishing school digitally while being limited in how much they could work on their sport of choice.

It's been a first for everyone, being in isolation, but needed to fight a virus this generation has never seen. Now, as the school year approaches, it seems imperative kids get back to some sort of normalcy and that includes competing in sports.

Not because sports are missed, but because kids and even coaches need what sports can give them -- an outlet to exercise and even socialize. It's been sorely missed.

"The big part of this is the mental health of our kids," Steavpack said. "That is priority number one, because this is the first time all of us have gone through something like this. I'm excited for our kids to get into the gym, to get acclimated to the protocols, to start exercising.

"I can't wait to see a kid in a uniform and that's what's really important. I want to see that. I was disappointed when this past spring we just couldn't get kids in uniform. My hope is we're going to get kids in uniform this fall."

Many others echo that same sentiment.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay