Since COVID-19 closures and cancellations began hitting schools, events, and businesses worldwide, many high schoolers are concerned about the fate of the Fall 2020 sports season.
This comes with good reason for athletes and coaches because the threat of the virus may prohibit a varsity athlete from having a breakout year, or drive down the number of registered competitors in the fall. As the state at this point in time of the next high school sports season is all speculation, there are differing opinions as to what could occur.
Camas High School Athletic Director Rory Oster believes that sports participation will increase in the fall.
“One thing we have learned through this is that being part of something like an athletic program, not only teaches life long lessons that help prepare you to be successful throughout life but it provides opportunities to socialize and work together with peers for a common goal,” Mr. Oster said. “That socialization and physical activity is so incredibly important for our youth and education-based athletics provides the greatest opportunity for this.”
The other side of the debate concerns how comfortable parents will be with letting their kids return to the playing field once it is deemed safe to do so.
Varsity Football Head Coach Jon Eagle agrees, but suggests it will be hard to tell.
“Every family will have to come to terms with their version of what safe is,” Coach Eagle said. The situation is something for parents to keep an eye on – especially for younger athletes.
Although it might currently seem like nothing will open for another decade, both Mr. Oster and Coach Eagle agree that all student-athletes should keep grinding away with training and preparation for the next year of education-based athletics.
“Keep waking up early, keep doing the work others are not willing to do,” Mr. Oster said. “Understand that as soon as we get the green light to move forward on our programs our administration and our coaching staff will work tirelessly to provide you with a safe environment to participate in the activities that are so very important to you.”
Coach Eagle adds that athletes should be prepared for any circumstance. “We (coaches) want our athletes to be prepared for phase 2 and 3.“ because “we plan on practicing during phase 3,” the football coach said. It is “better to be safe than sorry.”
Overall, sports are only half of what student-athletes could be missing out on. “We can’t forget that our main mission is our education,” Coach Eagle said. “ Sports are cool and fun and important, but not as important as our education. We must fight to continue to learn and grow as students and staff, and focus on what happens before 3:00 pm every day.”