Student-Athletes Rally for Reopening of Sports

Student athletes rally for the reopening of sports practices during the pandemic in front of Campolindo Highschool.

Some student-athletes took part in the state-wide “Let Them Play” rally advocating for high school sports to begin their seasons amidst the COVID-19 pandemic on January 16.

Currently, Contra Costa County is in the purple tier. According to the California Department of Public Health, outdoor moderate-contact sports can resume in the red tier, outdoor high-contact sports can resume in the orange tier, and all other indoor sports can resume in the yellow tier.

Football coach Kevin Macy, however, believes students also deserve a say about whether or not sports should commence and views the rally as an opportunity to voice those opinions.

“Right now we’re all bound by these so-called tiers, and this group here is really for a voice, some visibility. Kids in the middle of all this are not being represented,” said Macy.

Football team mom Lauren Fritch supports the cause as a way to “get an audience with Governor Gavin Newsom to share the data that’s been collected to show that kids can get back to playing sports safely.”

“It’s time now [to open up sports], it can be done safely with precautions…over 40 states have finished their season and have started basketball. And [in] California…we’re stuck in these tiers,” said Macy.

Besides wanting to gain back a sense of normalcy, many students are in favor of sports resuming for the recruitment and scholarship opportunities they provide.

According to senior varsity football player Jason Vorhauer, sports are a “necessity” for students.

“Playing football or playing your sport might pay for your college, that might pay your education at a higher level, so it is actually needed,” said Vorhauer.

While the rally attendance was composed mainly of football players, some members of the girls’ volleyball team also participated. Unlike football, which has been allowed to hold outdoor practices since the summer, volleyball’s indoor practices with small groups were canceled after Contra Costa County entered the purple tier.

“While we were able to practice indoors, there was not a single COVID case from any of the volleyball players so I think that the masks and small groups were helping us stay safe while playing,” said JV volleyball player sophomore Anna Dendinger, who attended the rally in opposition of the county’s decision to suspend volleyball practices.

Dendinger hopes to see the return of sports due to the positive impact they have on student mental health.

“It is important to play sports during a pandemic because it allows us to socialize, get exercise, connect with our school, and it is a great way to get up and going after long Zoom classes,” said Dendinger.