Let Them Play… During a Pandemic?

Jake Knoeller, Sports Editor

5th February, 2021

People gather outside the offices of Senator Mike McGuire and Assembly Member Jim Wood in Eureka to rally for high school sports to come back. (Photo Credit: Jake Knoeller)

On Friday, January 29th, a group of Humboldt County residents gathered to rally for the return of local high school sports for the second time in 2021 so far. This time their venue was the parking lot of Senator Mike McGuire and Assembly Member Jim Wood’s offices on 1036, 5th Street, Eureka, CA. 

These residents consisted of student athletes, former student athletes, coaches, parents, and even small children. The crowd seemed to consist of approximately 150 people. Many participants showed up on the scene with signs saying “Let Us Play” and other arguments for why sports supposedly should come back. The public speakers, including parents and student athletes, voiced their reasoning on why, arguing that sports are a huge part of a complete education, and they give students a purpose in life. The Highway Patrol had officers present and I spoke with one. The officer stated they were not concerned about the protest but were just there to protect the rights of the first amendment. It was a short, quick, straight to the point protest that ran under an hour. While most attendees were masked, there did not seem to be much mention of concern with the risks of being exposed to COVID-19 when sports return. 

In my opinion, this is something that has to be taken into consideration more. What do people expect to happen if all sports just restart like normal and a player tests positive for COVID-19 a week in? They can’t just keep playing after that, and looking at Humboldt’s case numbers, this is bound to happen pretty fast. What’s the point of restarting sports if they will be shut down immediately? All that will happen is a couple extra people getting sick.

 If you ask me, there is clearly not a benefit from starting sports again, but this opinion clearly varies from person to person. Although I am a student athlete myself and life just doesn’t seem to be the same without sports, there are reasons we must not have them during this time so as many people stay safe as possible. Luckily, this rally did not seem to cause any drama or uproar, so people safely got their opinions across and that’s what matters. Even if not everyone agrees on something, everyone does deserve to be heard.