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Q&A with Gulf Coast’s Mike Kandler

By Dustin Kent
Like their softball counterparts, the Gulf Coast baseball team was riding a 10-game winning streak when the coronavirus outbreak caused the cancellation of all spring seasons.

Mike Kandler’s Commodores had shaken off an up-and-down start and a four-game losing skid to turn things around and start to build momentum heading into Panhandle Conference play.

Instead of taking a run at a league title, Kandler and the Commodores are left to wonder what if. We caught up with the Gulf Coast athletic director and long-time baseball coach to see how he’s coping with life without sports.

How has social distancing affected you personally?

On a personal level, it really hasn’t affected me much. Fortunately, as of now I don’t know anyone who has contracted the virus. It is a small sacrifice to socially isolate and it really appears to be paying off as deaths are way below what the models predicted they would be if we did not take all of the precautions.

Who are you social distancing with? Has this strengthened the family bond?

I am with my wife and my daughter who has stayed with us during the crisis. I think it is always a positive to spend time with family members.

What are you doing to stay busy?

Hiring a women’s basketball coach and watching Netflix (Ozark). Taking walks, lifting a few weights.

Out of all the postponements and cancellations between pro and college, what sport do you miss the most?

I certainly missed March Madness and the opening of MLB.

What does a world without sports look like to you?
A world without professional sports is simply a void in our entertainment options. A world without college sports is sad. A world without high school and youth sports will fundamentally stunt the physical, psychological, and emotional development of our society as we move forward.

You guys were not able to finish the season, but what do you think you guys would’ve accomplished this year?

I am not sure how good are team could have gotten. That is the beauty of sports, is you never know exactly how the season will play out. I do know that we were playing pretty darn well when the year ended.

Are you able to do anything to stay physically active?

Walking/light weightlifting.

Have you watched or binged anything good on TV?

Ozark.

What kind of advice can you offer to athletes/fellow coaches dealing with this time off?

As athletes, we are often single minded and narrowly focused, so take advantage of the time off to develop other interests. Music, books, art, movies, etc.

Can you find any silver linings to this situation?

I have always believed that your reaction to adversity will truly define who you are as a person. I think most people will be fundamentally tougher and better equipped to handle difficult times in their futures as a result of this virus. I also think it has re-instilled the importance of family.

 

 

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