Coronavirus: East Bay Lacrosse coach creates innovative challenges for his players to hone their skills amid COVID-19 pandemic

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KGO) -- Schools in the Bay Area have closed the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this includes school sports.

The men's lacrosse team at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon was in the middle of their season when school suddenly ended.

"The shelter in place happened the day of a game. Unfortunately, that game didn't happen," said Michael Keyser, Head Coach of Dougherty Valley High School Men's Varsity Lacrosse team. "Fortunately, everyone is healthy and that is another reason why we are staying connected. It's good news seeing everybody happy and healthy."

COVID-19 has forced Coach Keyser to switch his original game plan by creating fun and innovative methods to keep the team connected and to hone their skills.

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"With the season being canceled, we are keeping them engaged through weekly calls, weekly challenges, having them leverage their technology skills with their iPhones and linking it to the sport of lacrosse," said Keyser.

Each week, players are put to a new online challenge to stay engaged in the game. All in an effort to keep the team in good spirits.

"We're a family on a team and we really take that to heart and wanted to make sure that we kept that together as much as possible," said Keyser.

The biggest lesson that his players have learned is to "play the game like it is your last."

"That saying is going to set much deeper in their minds and hearts after going through this experience," said Keyser.

Many high school seniors across the country, have had to grasp the reality that their senior year isn't going to turn out the way that they expected.

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"The reality was starting to sit in with them that the season is gone," said Keyser. "Especially for our seniors, its heartbreaking for them that they won't be able to have a senior night on the field and all the festivities that come with being a senior. "

"It is definitely hard to see the last season go," said Sean Cruz, High School Senior at Dougherty Valley High School. "Most of are understanding to the whole situation and the importance of staying home."

Cruz and his teammates credits their Coach's leadership for keeping the team connected and are thankful to have Coach Keyser rooting for the on and off the field.

"Our coach is really good at building our character beyond our skills on the field," said Cruz. "When you see our coach, you can see that he cares more about our teammates rather than the scoreboard."

"Pandemic or not, continuity of teamwork, being close together is important," said Keyser. "We are hoping when it is safe to go out, we can meet up at least one more time together and celebrate as a team."

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