Let Them Play

Let Them Play


Thirty-eight states are allowing high school athletes to compete in winter sports. To help increase those numbers, a movement has spread across those remaining 12 states. This movement is called, “Let Them Play.” Over the past 14 days, athletes protested outside their individual schools in California and Maryland and at state capitals in Michigan and Illinois.

This is not a political movement. It is a bunch of like-minded high school athletes, parents, coaches, educators and politicians banding together on behalf of high school athletes. Their argument is simple:

  1. The survival rate of individuals under 20 who get this virus and survive is 99.997, which means that out of 100,000 teenagers who get this virus, 3 will die – https://tallahasseereports.com/2020/09/26/cdc-releases-updated-covid-19-fatality-rate-data/. As of the time of writing this, only 1 high school athlete has died in America due to Covid since high schools sports has resumed in the fall.
  2. The CDC has recently declared that all schools should reopen because the data is showing that kids do not spread the virus in large quantities and asymptomatic spread is not nearly the threat as originally feared – https://eyewire.news/articles/asymptomatic-spread-of-coronavirus-is-very-rare-who-says/. So, if it’s safe to be in the classroom, it is also safe to be on the court/field/pool/track.
  3. The psychological affects of not playing sports are damaging. Mental health professionals document increased frequency of depression, anxiety and suicide ideation – https://azbigmedia.com/lifestyle/mental-health-issues-spike-in-high-school-athletes-due-to-lack-of-sports-study-shows/. Sports is the place where kids have fun, hang with their friends, find their happiness, compete and for some, earn college scholarships. Protesters argue that depriving kids of their passion for the remote possibility that they could die is not a ‘good enough’ argument.
  4. Schools officials have put in place safety protocols to do their part to keep kids as safe as possible. This includes masks and now, testing. This will never be 100% effective because most sports require contact, but kids and their parents’ understand the risks. No one is forcing a student to participate in sports. Protesters argue that if a student or a parent is uncomfortable participating, stay home. In 38 states, sports is a choice and it should be in their respective states.
  5. In spring of 2020, almost all kids were in their homes, social distancing and staying away from friends. With health agencies releasing science and facts, kids understand that they are at low risk. Thus, these kids are hanging out with friends after school in small and large gatherings anyway. These protesters argue that a supervised sports setting with safety protocols is safer than the unsupervised gatherings with no safety protocols.

Joe’s Perspective: I have no voice on this one. I have no skin in the game. I will leave you with the words of parents and students who do.

Eighteen high school athletes spoke at the podium to the 2,000+ people in the audience at the Michigan State Capital. Ryan McNeil, a wrestler at Montrose High School said, “I haven’t even told my parents this, but when sports got taken away from us, I definitely fell into a dark place. I kind of thought that there was nothing left in life for me.”

Shannon Badgero, the girls varsity soccer coach at Tri-Unity Christian said, “I’ve got a senior daughter who has already lost her junior season of soccer and now she’s at risk of losing her senior season of basketball.  It’s infuriating at times because these kids are at risk of losing everything they’ve been working for since they were kids and that’s unacceptable in my eyes.”

After the event, parent Jayme McElvany said, “Our hope is that this event shows our state government and the health department that we will do whatever it takes to play sports again. If they heard any of these brave young kids that came up here and spoke today, I don’t know how you can disagree.”

Your Turn: Do you think high school students should be allowed to play sports for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year? Explain your answer.

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  1. I think so because it’s not fair to the senior class, even if it’s a short season that’s better than nothing.

  2. I believe they should be allowed to compete. Those who want to compete should be able to and those who don’t want to compete because of covid shouldn’t have to.

  3. I think they should be able to play the rest of the year, but they should have safely regulations to keep everyone safe.

  4. It’s definitely not fair for a lot of athletes who are going to be having there last year so they should be with as few guidelines as they can put in.

  5. I think that athletes should be able to play their sports with restrictions of course because of the virus but to me it doesn’t make sense to keep athletes from playing if we are low risk

  6. I Believe that they should still play sports and I also am aware about the pandemic in Covid but they also said that all the Covid rules and especially like for the seniors you know they want to finish off their last year of high school with kind of like leaving like a great game and making it the best that they can.

  7. I think if you are following all COVID safety rules , there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to, I got to play my season , I think everyone should be allowed to play theirs!

  8. I think the people that are comfortable playing sports in this pandemic should be able to play. It may be a short season but it’s better than no season at all.

  9. Sports should continue for those seniors that might not play for their future colleges, and I think that as long as regulations are throughly followed then there should be allowed.

  10. Yes they should play sports for the remainder of the year as long as they follow all procedures and guidelines for their safety.

  11. They should be able to play whatever sport that they play as long as they follow the guidelines and safety procedures to keep everyone safe during this pandemic.

  12. I think that high schools should be able to play sports. You’re only in high school once and will never get these opportunities back so I think especially for the senior class, they deserve to enjoy their last season, even if it’s shortened.

  13. They should still have a season because that is very important for them, especially seniors. As long as they practice social distancing as best they can in their sport and follow the guidelines set to deal with Covid.

  14. Yes, I think the students should be able to play sports for the rest of the year because if they love and really want to play the sport they will do everything they need to. They will wear masks if that is what the state wants, people will do anything for what they love.

  15. i totally agree with this article because i am a student-athlete myself and last year I didn’t play many sports due to covid. mentally it was so draining and I had nothing to look forward to no competition. keeping kids in sports in the best thing to do in this hard time of covid. it helps the players take their minds away from reality

  16. i think the people who want to compete should, it takes a lot of courage to protest against the school knowing that you maybe can get in trouble, just for the sport, which seems to mean a lot to them.

  17. When things like this happen you learn to appreciate what you do have and start to take back and make the effort to change.

  18. i definitely understand the students point of view because I love playing sports and id wanna do anything in my power to get back playing again, even if it required protesting because sports help a lot of kids around the world.