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High school baseball was back in 2021. Curtis coach Bryan Robinson hopes COVID-19 vaccine will help get it back to normal next year.

Curtis High School baseball coach Bryan Robinson believes in sportsmanship and humility—even when it comes to his health.

“I’m not walking around showboating because I got my second COVID-19 vaccine,” he joked. “I still wear a mask and follow safety precautions. But it feels good knowing I’m not going to bring anything home that will hurt my family.”

Robinson has been the head coach at Curtis for a decade. His team just finished a much-appreciated season after missing out on one last year. He’s also a middle school teacher in Tacoma, who spends most of his time in the public and around kids.

He got the vaccine to keep himself and his family safe. He encourages others to do the same.

“I got vaccinated because I believe in science and the people who are significantly smarter than most of us looking out for our wellbeing,” he said. “Having a family, being around kids at school and student-athletes when I’m coaching it just makes a ton of sense to feel protected.”

Bryan Robinson

2020 disappointments.

It’s still hard for Robinson to put into words how disappointing it was for everyone last year when all spring sports were canceled because of the pandemic.

He remembers the exact day the news came.

“March 12,” he said. “It was brutal. Two days prior we heard Seattle schools were shut down, and so we kind of knew that the ball was going to drop. But it was a gut-punch when it happened.” 

Players were emotional, and he felt helpless.

“There wasn’t really any sugar coating it,” he said. “It was awful. Kids were mad and sad, and we had no answers for them. We just tried to be a support system for them and do what we could.”

For some, losing the season meant losing their last chance to play high school baseball.

“We had 12 seniors,” Robinson said. “The season was circled as what was going to be a breakout year with all the talent we had. And then it was over before it began.”

Back in the game.

The Curtis baseball team finally returned to the field this March.

“There’s definitely a much better appreciation by the student-athletes and the coaches in terms of being able to get out and play again at the high school,” Robinson said.

Even if things looked a little different.

“Everyone had to wear a mask,” he said. “Temperature checks every day. Had to go through a lot of questioning to make sure they’re in a good place.”

But baseball was back, along with a sense of normalcy.

“It wasn’t just us either,” Robinson said. “Fastpitch was right next door on the next field playing and doing the same things. It’s been a different experience, but everybody enjoyed it because we were back out there competing.”

Looking ahead.

Now Coach Robinson is already thinking about next year.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Especially for the seniors. These years in high school you’re never going to get back. For these guys, it’s playing. Playing games with your high school buddies. They got that, and they’re taking the steps to make sure they don’t lose it.”

Robinson said he knows of a few players on the team that have already gotten their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

“I haven’t gone out of my way to have conversations about it,” he said. “But if I hear a lot of kids have questions, I try to answer the ones I can and encourage them to talk to their parents. I’ve told them the reasons why I got vaccinated and why I feel it’s important.”

He’s hoping the professional players can lead by example as well.

“I read about a game with the Blue Jays recently where 85 percent of the players and staff were vaccinated so they didn’t have to wear masks,” he said. “I think that’s going to really help when the players above the high school level do that.”

Family, grief and the future.

Robinson had personal reasons to get vaccinated as well.

“My family is spread out,” he said. “We have an uncle in Southern California. My mom in the Bay Area. My sister in California as well. We’d always circle like four days in October or September to go down to Tucson where my grandmother lives.”

Bryan Robinson and his daughter.That didn’t happen in 2020. 

“I have two girls under the age of four, and that got shutdown last year for COVID. My grandmother’s retirement home just completely shut down—nobody coming in or out. That hurt.”

The disappointment turned to grief last month when Robinson’s grandmother passed away.

“She never got to meet her second great-granddaughter,” he said. “She didn’t get to see her other great-granddaughter a second time. I’m sure there’s a million similar stories, but that’s what we’re going through.”

More than baseball, Robinson sees family as the most important reason to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Being able to see all our loved ones again as safely and soon as possible.

“This is what COVID took away from us,” he said. “Just try to remember what life was like back in 2019. And if it means getting the vaccine to get back to that, it’s a pretty easy decision.”

It’s also important to continue to take all the steps possible to prevent the spread of COVID:

Learn more at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.