Society faces a tough choice as the COVID-19 pandemic continues: reintroduce sports leagues and risk an increased spread of the coronavirus, or keep sports shut down and cause many people involved in sports leagues (not just athletes) to go unemployed? Another significant factor weighing in this decision is the cultural importance that many sports have, especially on a national level. This is a mind-boggling task for anyone to puzzle out, but perhaps the debate can be made easier by focusing the lens and analyzing sports at a high school level.
The most high profile sports and leagues in America, such as basketball, football, and baseball, are team-oriented games and as such are very difficult to properly social distance within. However, there are many sports that lose very little or nothing at all when conducted with proper social distancing and safety, such as swimming & diving or golf to name a few. These are some of the kinds of sports that are offered to high school students, and so the staggering question on a national level refines to something reasonable: Can high school students start to re-engage with their extracurricular activities and sports in a way that is as enriching as before, but still safe? Whitney Young senior Daniel Lopez ’21 challenges: “I think it’s foolish. We all want this to end as soon as possible and want everyone to do their part but when it comes to how it might affect us individually we tend to default to a selfish state of mind.” This may be on the harsher side of the debate, but this brings up fair criticisms- no matter how safe schools and teams may try to be, there will be factors that escape even the most diligent people.
This is of course not the only side to consider, though. Ivor Huggett ’21 brings up more key points: “I’m glad that people are able to do things that they enjoy, and I know people do use it for scholarships but the ones I’ve seen should at least be practicing more precautions.” Ultimately, there are very many factors to consider even when shrinking the focus down to a school level, and there is no one right decision. This will likely be a choice that is made from school to school or even team to team as they consider what will hopefully be best for the students.