DOUGLAS — Douglas High School’s softball team has a long standing tradition of giving back to the community during the holiday season.
Due to the coronavirus many of the events the Bulldogs normally participate in have been cancelled or postponed this year leaving coach Lorena Tapia wondering what her team would do this year for a community service project.
“Every year the girls find some way to give back to the community,” Tapia said. “This year we heard about some ornaments that needed to be refurbished that would then be hung up around the 10th Street Park where the tree is at.”
Tapia’s husband Max, who is her assistant coach and also works for the City of Douglas, talked to city administrators who agreed to allow the softball team to take on the restoration project on the ornaments that needed sprucing up.
She said there were 10 ornaments that were refurbished which the girls took about a week to complete.
“To purchase a brand new ornament is roughly between $500 and $700,” Tapia said. “To refurbish all 10 of the ornaments cost around $200. The city provided the garland while the girls provided everything else.”
For junior Alicia Lamadrid, this was her third year of taking part in this community service project.
“I find doing something like this is very fulfilling,” she said. “I believe this is a great way for our team to give back to our community.”
The coach praised the work her girls did on the project adding they did a heck of a job and have a reason to be proud.
Because of social distancing due to COVID-19 the girls worked individually on the ornaments.
“Now when they drive down the street and see their ornament hanging on the pole they can take pride in knowing they had a hand in getting that ornament up there,” the Tapia said. “These girls had a very rough year last year that was cut short due to the pandemic. We didn’t even get to play one home game. We’re hopeful, but we don’t know yet if we’re going to have a softball season this year. This is more than about softball. It’s about creating memories and helping out our community that has been so supportive of us. This is something that I strive to instill in my team.”
Lamadrid said she was excited when she learned what this year’s community service project was going to be.
“As a kid seeing the ornaments downtown it was really exciting knowing that I could be a part of that this year,” she said.
Lamadrid stated the ornaments were in better shape than what she expected and all she did was add some garland and brought some color to hers hoping to make it stand out a little more.
“It was a really fun project to do,” she said. “I refurbished one of the large candy canes.”
Tapia has been unable to have any kind of an offseason with her team and only meets with them virtually.
“It’s been tough,” the coach said. “I’m fortunate in that I have good communication with them and their parents. We’re all struggling right now not being able to interact with each other the way we normally would. We’re hoping things will change and we will be able to get back on the field.”
Lamadrid admits not having an off season this year to practice with the other players on the team has been difficult. She is hopeful they are soon allowed to return to the field and get reconnected as a team.
“I think this is something that we have learned to appreciate more now that we have lost it for a season,” she said. “I feel to be able to play softball is a privilege and I can’t wait to be able to get back on the field and actually see my teammates and do what we do best.”