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Fastpitch Softball makes return to Indian Country

Team looks forward to getting back to playing

Men’s fastpitch softball team, Oklahoma Sykos, looks to return to field after being delayed due to COVID-19. (Submission)

by: Darren DeLaune/MCNPR

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — With the global pandemic of COVID-19 in everyone’s faces, numerous things came to a standstill. Jobs and schools were some of the things that stopped.

Several organizations had to postpone their sport seasons and numerous Native Americans, young and old suffered.

They missed not only watching the games, but playing.

Basketball, baseball and softball were put on hold across the reservations and tribal territories.

Until now.

Fastpitch softball is making a return to Indian Country.

One team, the Oklahoma Sykos, has been patiently waiting to be back on the diamond for some competition.

“We were waiting to see when we were going to be able to get back on the field,” Oklahoma Sykos Coach and Muscogee (Creek) citizen Fred Bear said. “When COVID happened, a lot of tournaments we either postponed or cancelled.”

The Sykos has been coached by Bear for over 16 years. His teams has players from several tribes and mostly, citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Bear said normally, his team would start practice around January to get prepared for the season.

“Our practices were delayed, everyone is slowly getting back into playing,” Bear said.

Bear said he kept an eye on the news to keep up with COVID-19.

“We saw the different phases that our state was going through to re-open,” Bear said. “As soon as they let children begin playing the summer sports, it was only a matter of time before we were allowed to play.”

Bear said he feels good about being able to have his team in fastpitch tournaments again, but he is still being cautious and wants his team to be safe.

“As well as the other players on the teams we play against,” Bear said. “We want them to be careful to.”

Another player for the Sykos, Muscogee (Creek) citizen and assistant coach/catcher Roland Roberts, like Bear, feels good to get back on the field.

“The COVID-19 stopped everything,” Roberts said. “We were wondering if we were going to be able to return to play.”

Roberts knew that was the biggest worry among everyone on his team, not being able to play.

“The players on the team, like myself, love playing when we can,” Roberts said. “We look forward to it every year. Plus, we look forward to the new teams that we get to play against.”

Sykos first tournament will be this weekend, June 13, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma at the Okmulgee City Parks.

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