Not Time to Cancel Fall Sports
Without a doubt the biggest issue and question facing education is whether or not we can safely return to school next month. That is clearly the priority and some tough decisions are going to be made in the next few weeks by school districts, parents, teachers and others.
At the same time decisions will have to be made when it comes to high school sports as right now in New Jersey the plan is to move forward with a delayed start to the fall season even though states like New York, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have already cancelled fall sports or pushed them back to next spring. Pennsylvania might be following suit if the governor gets his way.
While I still think having a season, especially for football remains doubtful I see no reason why we need to make a decision now. In fairness to student-athletes, especially seniors, schools in conjunction with the NJSIAA should continue with their summer workouts as scheduled through August 28th. The current plan then calls for a complete shutdown until September 14th when official practice would begin for the fall season.
My guess is that the two-plus week gap is when decisions might be made as by then in-school instruction would have begun for many districts in the state. That is unless something changes between now and then.
Clearly if the plan to bring students into schools is halted and they go virtual on a full-time basis then it’s likely safe to say the plug will be pulled on sports. However shouldn’t we wait to see how things develop to give the thousands of athletes who are working out with their teams the best chance to play the sport they love and represent their school and community? Why do we need to rush into making a decision when one does not have to be made today?
It’s fair to question the safety of playing any sport during a pandemic but is it not perplexing that organized sports are now being conducted all across the state and you don’t hear too much about that. I could certainly argue that high school sports would be better organized and monitored then what is now taking place as athletes of all ages are competing in soccer, basketball and lacrosse leagues.
Some of the same people who want the fall season called off don’t seem to have any problem with that.
While I sincerely hope there is a fall season I still think the odds are stacked against one but now is not the time to cancel. Let’s continue to see if we can make it work because kids deserve a chance to have their dreams come true.