COVID COPING: Area high school coaches take a turn in the producer’s chair

COVID COPING: Area high school coaches take a turn in the producer’s chair

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CHESHIRE — At a time when spring sports have been sidelined by the coronavirus, a few area coaches have spent some of their time as video producers.

Cheshire baseball coach Mike Lussier had a positive message for players and shared it this week in a video that got TV time. Softball coaches Kristine Drust of Cheshire and Davina Hernandez, meanwhile, compiled “Let’s Play Catch” videos of their players that have been a big hit on social media.

Lussier made a 48-second video telling spring athletes, particularly baseball players, to stay positive while the spring season remains indefinitely suspended — a status the CIAC re-affirmed on late Thursday. 

Lussier was urged to do the video by former Cheshire baseball assistant Sean Pragano, a sports anchor and reporter at FOX61. Pragano played the video in full during his sports broadcast on Wednesday night.

Lussier said it took four takes to make the clip, which was filmed by his wife Donna.

“Everyone is very negative right now and I’m trying to keep people positive,” Lussier said. “I know there were a lot of seniors counting on this year, but this adversity is a speed bump.”

Cheshire senior pitcher Mike Kozlowski came across Lussier’s video by chance during the live broadcast on Wednesday night.

“It was a surprise,” Kozlowski said. “I was watching the news with my mom and I said, ‘Hold on a minute! It’s Coach Luss.’

“It helps keep everyone’s hopes up and to keep working…,”  Kozlowski added. “It was great to see him back on the field and make a video for everyone.”

Lussier said he wanted his players to keep doing what they were doing and to know that baseball will be back.

“Everyone is physically and mentally drained right now from this,” Lussier said. “Some people need some comfort. I wanted to get out there. Are we going to have a season? I don’t know.”

The Rams were just starting conditioning when schools were closed in the state on March 13. Many of the Cheshire baseball players were working out in the offseason and honing their craft.

“I don’t want them to think that time was a waste,” Lussier said. “I know all of the time they have put in.”

“I thought the video was entertaining,” said senior Joe Sabo. “I was bummed out when the season got delayed...but we understand the situation and the importance of the schools being closed. The video cheered me up.”

Cheshire and Southington softball answered the  “Let's Play Catch” challenge. Coach Kristine Drust and her players had a virtual catch and said something inspirational or kind before each toss. It was heavily viewed on Twitter and also featured on Fox61.

Coach Davina Hernandez completed her Southington video on Thursday. The Blue Knights’ video features players doing various tricks with a softball before passing it on to a teammate.

“We were originally going to have the coaches participate, but we decided to just do the girls,” Hernandez said. “I reached out to a couple of girls and they spread the word...”

Hernandez said it was nice to see her players smile doing a video involving the sport they love. 

“This was a fun way to interact and it was just a great way to keep things fun,” Hernandez said. “It gives the kids something to do and you could see how much fun they had making the video.”

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