Focusing on what we 'can do' during pandemic

Skye Kinkade
John Kennedy and his two sons, Ben and JT, play a “Minute to Win It” game with Oreos as part of one of his “Can Do” videos, which highlight different activities people can still enjoy during the pandemic. The videos are posted on the Sportsmen's Den's Facebook page.

These first weeks in April are usually busy ones for Little League players who are preparing for Opening Day. The coronavirus pandemic has changed those plans, but Mount Shasta Little League coach and Sportsman’s Den owner John Kennedy said there’s plenty that players can do to get ready for the season, which may still be a belated reality.

To demonstrate some of these things, he created a “Can Do” series of videos that he’s been posting on the Sportsmen’s Den Facebook page, featuring drills players can do all by themselves, as well as other activities people can do while keeping their distance from others, especially in an area like Siskiyou County, where there’s wide open spaces.

“When COVID-19 started to really take over American news, the news headlines and social media was flooded with info about what you cannot do,” said Kennedy. “I hated seeing the negative connotation that we cannot do things. It can be so depressing.”

Kennedy said he went to work and told his manager Mariah Goodrich-Jones that he wanted to “focus on what we could do during these times of social distancing” on the Sportsmen’s Den Facebook page.

Kennedy’s goal was to put out a video each day talking about what people can do during this time of social distancing. Each employee could contribute as they saw fit. Since the governor’s request to shut down non-essential businesses, which included Sportsmen’s Den, most videos have just been Kennedy and his family.”

His sons, 11 year-old Ben and JT, a junior at Mount Shasta High School, have been “great sports and willing to help the cause,” he said. During the course of the project, they’ve learned a little about public speaking, video editing and putting together a story line.

“Also they have seen that they can be an inspiration to someone ... or even by just brightening up someone’s day,” said Kennedy, who hopes to incorporate more of his staff in the videos.

Little League

Hundreds of young baseball and softball players are sad that the pandemic has halted their season, said Kennedy.

Kennedy serves on the South Siskiyou Little League board as the equipment manager and has coached Little League for more than 15 years.

“We have never had a situation like this,” Kennedy said. “In early March, Little League baseball issued a statement prohibiting practices and games until April 7. Within a week they extended that until May 11. To put that into perspective, our practices were to start early March, games in early April, Opening Day ceremonies April 18, and our regular season usually ends at the end of May.”

Kennedy said the SSLL board has decided to offer baseball and softball to the kids if at all possible.

“We are looking of it as a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ scenario,” Kennedy said. “Can you imagine that you go through all this social distancing (meaning no time together with your friends at school or practices/games), and then you get to summer and now it is summer break and you have no school/practices/games either?”

Kennedy said if Little League allows practices and games after May 11, SSLL’s goal is to get things going and play into the summer months.

“It may mean no all-stars and reduced teams, but at least there is a plan to have a fun, competitive program for the kids,” he said. “There has been discussion with Yreka, Fall River and Burney and they all seem to be on board to do the same thing.”

To see the “Can Do” videos, which include things like baseball and basketball drills, bike riding, hiking and even suggestions for inside play, such as “Minute to Win It” themed contests, go to the Sportsmen’s Den Facebook page at