It’s six o’clock at Luther Williams Field. The sound of ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” blares through the speakers as the baseball players take the field. The smell of bacon floats through the summer air.
It’s official: the gates are open for the Macon Bacon’s 2020 baseball season.
Unlike last season, the Bacon fans come in at a slow and cautious pace. Most are wearing face masks in addition to their Bacon gear. While it may look different, the pandemic cannot stop that amazing feeling you get entering a park on game day.
The pandemic shut down all sports back in March and seems to be postponing most in the coming months. Some sports were able to return this summer, however, and Macon Bacon baseball is among them. From the NHL to the MLB, players returned for practices and games, giving fans hope and entertainment during a difficult time.
The Coastal Plain League (CPL) was one of these leagues that returned. The league was able to host seven teams to play this season throughout Georgia and the Carolinas. The teams have been tested for COVID-19 and wore face masks so they could play safely. While there was a lot of uncertainty on how the season would look, I was more than excited to be part of it as a league intern.
Being a CPL intern is work, but at the end of the day one of the best experiences a journalism student can have in the sports world. Before the game started, I would always make sure that my camera was charged and the SD card was empty. Most importantly, I made sure I had my mask. Even though most of the park was not a closed space, I was required to wear one for my safety and others’.
During game action, I would only have a couple of innings to get good pictures due to light. This meant that I would have to move around the seating bowl quite often. Unlike last season when I worked, I was very aware of how close I was to fans and other workers. I never felt unsafe at the ballpark and I always tried to keep more than six feet away from others.
The players themselves would be socially distant in the dugout, and some would even wear masks during gameplay. While I was not allowed in the dugout, I was close enough to take pictures and give Instagram a full game experience.
This internship not only taught me how to post on social media and get good pictures, but it also taught me how to be flexible with the situation that I was in. The pandemic was and still remains a scary reality that we live in. Regardless of that, this experience taught me that sports can be a great outlet of joy for myself, the players and those watching.