Fort Osage takes it slow

Bill Althaus
Fort Osage offensive line coach Rick Ammons, left, visits with football head coach Brock Bult and players following an early-morning conditioning workout at the high school Tuesday. Fort Osage is allowing both indoor and outdoor conditioning and training sessions this week for freshman through senior student-athletes.

With microphone in hand, Fort Osage football coach Brock Bult leads students through a series of conditioning drills on the football field emphasizing social distancing requirements.

“Six feet apart ladies and gentlemen, six feet apart,” Bult said, as his voice booms over the stadium’s PA system. “Let’s work hard – and keep six feet apart!”

Unlike some high schools that are allowing specific team practices, Fort Osage is taking it slow and easy in its return to the field and weight room during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We don’t want to be ‘that school,’” Bult said through the mask that he never removed during the morning session. “Last week, we were just outside working. Today we’re working outside with some groups while we sanitize our weight room, then moving inside while that group comes outside.

“We are taking every precaution you can imagine. Look, we all want to get back to work. I want to coach our football team, but we’re going to do it the right way, and I think we’re doing that.”

So does Fort Osage activities director Ryan Schartz.

“You know me, I’m a football guy,” said Schartz, who won a state championship before turning the coaching reigns over to Bult, “but we’re going to do this right.

“We’re having soccer camps, but we’re just working on the things you can work on with social distancing. We’re going to have a basketball camp, but like soccer, it’s all going to be skill stuff. We’re going to keep everyone a safe distance but still get in some good work.”

Schartz and the rest of the Indians coaching staff is hoping things return to some sense of normalcy by July 20, when football and volleyball camps are scheduled to begin.

“That’s the tentative date that we can get back to some contact at practices, and not have to have our kids six feet apart,” Schartz said, “but you know how this goes – it changes daily. So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“We all want to start practicing, especially since we missed the month of June, but we’re going to take care of our kids and our coaches and do it right.”

Although he was wearing a mask, Bult was clearly grinning at the end of the conditioning session.

“You can just see how much this means to the kids,” Bult said. “It means a lot to me and our coaches. But you have to be smart. Look, if you don’t have a mask, you better find one.

“It’s as simple as ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service.’ You have to have that mask. I can’t wear my sunglasses because my mask keeps fogging them up – but you live with it.

“Let’s just hope the folks who are a lot smarter than either one of us get that vaccine and we can get back to normal.”