180806 Mars Hill Football 15 (copy) (copy)

Staying hydrated is a key part of any outdoor activity. During the pandemic, players aren't able to share bottles and coolers like Mars Hill's Ivan Coil two years ago. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

Usually the only rule for athletes about drinking water is to make sure they are doing it regularly.

But this is not a normal time.

As local athletes are practicing and preparing for their upcoming seasons while doing what they can to cut down on ways to spread the coronavirus, the water tanks and shareable bottles many teams use are not practical.

Individual water bottles are essential. Whether kids are running routes in the heat or making plays at the net in the gym, they’ll go through water bottles quickly.

“They don’t want to have anything in multiple hands,” Fox Sports Shoals programming director Chuck Hammer said.

So, Fox Sports Shoals wants to help.

Hammer and Shoals Sports Talk host Jordan Campbell are collecting water bottle donations they will distribute to the 17 high schools they cover — all those in Lauderdale and Colbert counties.

Bottled water will be distributed to the 17 schools equally, Hammer said.

“We’re wanting to do this as a community rallying thing,” he said.

Hammer said he first heard about a need for bottled water at Lexington, and since then he’s spoken with several coaches and administrators about the need for water bottles.

“Every one of them is saying they need it,” Hammer said.

Even schools who might not be short on bottled water now can stock up for the weeks ahead.

“Not every school has the problem figured out,” Hammer said. “I’m sure down the road they could use it as well. This is something they’re going to be dealing with all season.”

If you’d like to help, you can donate cases of bottled water at the Fox Sports Shoals studios, which are at 624 Sam Phillips St. in Florence, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

You may also write a check to Big River Broadcasting and bring it to the studio. Put “Water bottles” in the memo.

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Contact Craig at Craig.Thomas@TimesDaily.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TD_CraigThomas

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