LIVINGSTON, NJ — With the news this week that New Jersey schools will not open until at least May 18, if at all, the likelihood of there being even a curtailed spring sports season at Livingston High School (LHS) grew dimmer.
But members of the Livingston baseball team have posted a YouTube video tribute to thank all those in the community working to keep everybody safe and providing essential help and services during the coronavirus crisis. The 4:44 video seen below was produced by Lancer senior baseball players Anthony Lopa and Ryan Lafferty.
"I am so proud of our kids," said Livingston head baseball coach Mickey Ennis. "It's on the school district website, on Facebook and on YouTube. The kids did it themselves. We wanted to thank the people in community."
Ennis and his players were hoping to be in the midst of their season by now, but schools have been closed for the last five weeks now, a situation that impacts everybody, but which has an even more poignant effect on high school seniors.
"We are trying to keep the kids active," said Ennis. "We have daily communication with our kids, with all the players in our program. We send them short videos so that they can work on their skills at home."
In addition, the baseball program has joined up with other baseball teams in the area for a series of competitive challenges.
"We're competing with five other schools: Millburn, Union, Gov. Livingston, St. Joe's of Metuchen and Mendham," said Ennis. "We are doing two weeks of daily challenges: a one-minute challenge, different exercise challenges each day, and we take the top 10 scores, average them, and then we will do 10 'games' and then go into a 'playoff.'"
Livingston, which won the Greater Newark Tournament two years ago, was 14-10 last season. Seniors on this year's team are Lopa, Lafferty, Will Egner, Josh Greenberg, Michael Kravitz, Quin Kressler, James Cooney and Ernie Wilson.
"This is really difficult for the kids. It's even tough to comprehend," said Ennis. "I think our kids get the big picture, as difficult as it is not being with teammates or in school daily. I do think they understand where the priority is. We all have questions about it. Our kids have taken a positive approach. In the meantime, the only thing we can do is stay together virtually. It's important that there is still some type of communication there."
If fields reopen and sports are permitted once the summer begins, Ennis will be coaching the North Jersey Giants in a summer league that would include many underclassmen from Livingston.
"The team is made up of a lot of current freshmen in Livingston," said Ennis. "As the varsity coach, I don't get to see the freshmen much at all, so I like to spend my summer coaching the current freshmen. I generally get to see a lot of our players over the summer. That's when I like to concentrate on the younger kids."