The games are going on as planned.

Despite high coronavirus case numbers in Florida, the Hurricane Showdown softball tournament is scheduled to proceed. The 26th annual tournament is Nov. 27-29 at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale.

“We realize there are concerns, but we have a plan in place to keep everyone safe,” said Chris Aleman, tournament director.

Over 750 players representing 65 teams from across the country are participating in the predominantly LGBT tournament. Aleman said tournament players and fans are asked to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart. Hand sanitizers are provided on all dugouts, he said.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 9,002 new COVID cases bringing the state’s total to 914, 333. Governor Ron DeSantis has opted to not order severe restrictions in favor of a herd immunity approach.

“Contingencies are in place,” Aleman said. “If the city goes back to Phase 2 or if there is bad weather, we have a plan. We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

Aleman said Mills Pond Park has plenty of space to accommodate COVID procedures and testing will be on site during the tournament. Unlike years past, the tournament is not promoting bars or after-parties as another precautionary measure.

Other sports leagues have opted to cancel their seasons and upcoming tournaments.

The South Florida Flag Football League has already announced its cancelation of its Sunshine Cup, held annually in February.

“[We] unfortunately decided to cancel our annual national flag football tournament, Sunshine Cup XI,” said Dominic Grasso, the league’s commissioner. “Although we are disappointed, we believed there were too many variables relating to COVID-19, making it too risky to bring teams from across the nation together to compete in a high contact sport and socialize. We look forward to getting back into the field as soon as it is safe to do so.”

There are four divisions in the softball tournament based on skill levels. Teams hail from Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Knoxville, Tennessee, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, Indianapolis, Boston, Iowa City, Iowa, Decatur, Georgia, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia. Many of the teams, Aleman said, look forward to the social aspect of the tournament.

“At the end of the day the ability to connect with someone and see they are doing well and to do that safely is a win,” said Aleman. “We just want a chance to play softball.”

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