Written by Perry Head Football Coach Preston Jones for Sports360az
I’m really excited to see the boys again. I’ve missed them and the coaches. It’s going to be difficult to not hug, shake hands, chest bump, or put your arm around a player in this “new normal.” Habits are hard to break. At Perry like most schools we get attached to our athletes and it will be unnatural to stay 6 feet away.
I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I’m not sure this is the best for the current situation. The risk vs reward is what I’m thinking about. If we have a spike of cases during the summer, will this cause a possible loss of a season, or a season cut short? Or possibly changing the start of a school year? I don’t want our seniors to lose their final season.
I’m very worried about coming back to soon. I’m confused in the motivation of hurrying back to high school athletics. Colleges and professional sports with an unlimited amount of medical staff and money are still waiting. There is a huge financial gain to get the professional athletes and college athletes back to playing. I don’t see the same reasons or resources at the high school level.
Every athlete and coach has their own story on what is going on at their particular home. Kids have parents that are fighting cancer or cancer survivors with poor immune systems. We have asthmatic kids, diabetic kids, as well as their parents and siblings that have these conditions. We have kids that live with elderly and/or assist in taking care of an elderly family member. There are numerous other scenarios as well. Luckily this virus seems to be much nicer to strong teenagers, however what they possibly could pass on, unintentionally, really concerns me. I know this is all “optional” or, our choice to participate, however there can be extreme pressure on athletes and coaches. Peer pressure because their teammates are doing it, or because the competition is doing it. We are in a very competitive sport and a very competitive area. Athletes, coaches, and teams are usually judged on their wins and losses. Success is often determined on the scoreboard and open enrollment. If some districts and teams are starting, then of course all districts and teams will start.
Selfishly, I’m also not excited about not seeing my parents, my in-laws, and other elderly friends, just so we can have a couple extra weeks of preparation for high school football. I don’t like the odds the virus gives people over the age of 65, and I don’t want to be the person responsible to giving it to my family and friends.
Not sure waiting till July or August would even help, but I was willing to wait.