Wash. student athletes call for renewal of fall sports season
Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer
On Sept. 3, several high school athletes gathered on the steps of the Wash. state capitol building to protest the postponed fall season. As of the date of publication, the fall season for sports such as football and volleyball have been pushed back to the spring, and all sports seasons have been minimized to about two months instead of the usual three.
A result of the shortened sports season is the dismissal of post-season play, or in other words the cancelation of the league championships, district championships, and the state championship meets. The athletes who gathered on the steps of the capital, as well as many other high school athletes across Wash., are frustrated with the loss of their post-season games, and the additional stress of less availability to college recruiters.
These athletes also recognized the importance of healthy activities for teens and realized that for many, the lack of fall sports could lead to depression in many student-athletes. These reasons were enough to create the Student Athletes of Washington (SAW), and band together to help make athletic competition a reality for this school year.
Over the summer, numerous high school student-athletes in Wash. connected with each other using social media to build a community for their voice to be heard. According to the Chinook Observer, the organization started with a Change.org petition that was created by Cole Norah, a running back at Mount Si High School. The purpose of their petition was to ask Gov. Jay Inslee to restore fall sports to its regular season.
Many of the 150 athletes involved with the protest on the third are some of the top athletes in both the state and the nation. The Daily Chronicle shared that among these top athletes were J.T. Tuimoloae, the second-ranked recruit in the nation for defensive ends and the top quarterback prospect in the nation, Sam Huard.
More than 150 athletes wish to see the fall season reinstated. Only a few days after its creation, the petition received 28,500 signatures. As of Sept. 17, the petition had over 34,000 signatures, with their new goal being 35,000.
Their petition and the reasoning for their frustration is not that of teens who just wish to cause trouble. These student-athletes have worked hard to approach the reinstatement of their fall season in a very professional and authoritative manner. Their petition expressed repercussions such as depression among these athletes, demonstrating the serious impact sports have in their lives.
For many athletes, sports and competition is a healthy escape from a struggling home life, stress from school, and other responsibilities, such as work. The petition also highlighted the impact the postponing of fall sports can have on parents. For many of these top athletes, they have gotten where they are with the notion that if they are good enough, they can get help paying for school through athletic scholarships. For some on the cusp of receiving those scholarships, this last fall season could make or break their parents’ or personal savings, or simply, make or break their ability to attend college at all.
Many coaches, league directors, and other officials have been working on possible ways to make sports happen this fall with even more earnest intent since the release of the petition and the protest. If these students are unsuccessful in moving their fall seasons back to its rightful time, they have at least done well to prevent the postponing or shrinking of the winter and spring seasons. To these students, sports are everything, and this is what happens when that gift is taken away.