By Todd Black // Louisiana Prep Scoreboard Show – ESPN 104.5 Baton Rouge

What would you give to relive your senior year of high school?  

If you played sports in high school then you have pondered this question many times. If you were at a class reunion, this question probably came up or if you were reminiscing about the good ol’ days with your buddies, I assure you this question came up. Better yet, have you ever had a dream and find yourself back on the playing field with a chance to do it all over again?  

Every night I wish I could relive that dream!

That’s just a small portion of what a senior would miss out on if not given the opportunity to play sports. It is a fact that ninety-four percent (94%) of all high school athletes will not move up to the next level following their senior year.

Within the aforementioned percentage, that nucleus consists of what some may call “program players”. Those scratch, claw and fight for three years just for the opportunity of being able to “carry the torch”.

A high school student’s senior year is “not just another year”; all of us have been there but unfortunately it seems some of us have forgotten. 

Going back to my opening question is proof. What other year is someone willing to give up five years of their life to go back to? What other year would someone say, “I would pay a million dollars to go back to”? What other year would someone “do anything” to go back to? There is no better experience than a high school athletes senior year.  

This coming week a decision will be made by Governor Edwards that will positively or negatively impact the Class of 2021. If Louisiana remains in Phase II, a good option is for our governor to follow suit with other state governors and sign an executive order allowing high school athletics to take place. The other option is allowing this decision, just as parents had to make with school (online or classroom), to be handled by each athlete and their parents.

On July 31, 2020, CDC Prevention Director Robert Redfield warned that suicide and overdoses have killed more young people than the CoVID-19 pandemic. From a parent’s perspective, my son has a very, very good chance of recovering from the virus. However, on the other hand, a suicide attempt, well, I really prefer not to find out. 

By not allowing fall sports, the governor will be holding student-athletes hostage. By politicizing high school athletics, almost 100,000 athletes and up to 75,000 spirit clubs will be punished.  

The decision would have a lasting effect on the experience of students across the state. High school is supposed to give us some of the best times in our lives. It is the hope of coaches, student-athletes, parents and supporters that the right decision is made.

Either way, the decision made will last a lifetime.

2 Comments

  1. Karen Barefield on August 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Great read! Maybe we need to start calling the capital???

  2. Proud Sports Dad on August 24, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    First let’s be clear, WE ALL WANT TO GO BACK TO NORMAL! Before the haters jump in and start their bs just don’t. The view that your senior has a good likelihood of recovering is true but what the CDC and many other sources neglect to discuss is the overall impact. Let’s assume your child contracts COVID. Yes the likelihood they recover is pretty darn high and that is great news but the critical question that needs to be asked is, “Who did they come in contact with while positive?” Did they pass this along to their Grandparents, a friend, a cousin with a respiratory condition, a complete stranger at the supermarket, or to you? These folks may not be so lucky as the healthy 17-18 year old athlete. We aren’t dealing with a situation where we should only be worrying about ourselves. The impact of playing and it’s effect on the global “whole” needs to be part of this discussion.

    I am not saying don’t play; I’m saying we need to put more effort into what needs to happen and how does each sport need to look to give us the best chance of reducing and minimizing the spread. For example Under Armor claims they have a mask made for athletes; is this an option? Possibly.

    This is bigger than any one person; it would be wonderful if all we had to worry about was ourselves. If that was the case then we could each evaluate our own risk tolerance and proceed accordingly. Unfortunately this is not how a virus work and this one has the potential to do some pretty nasty stuff. It prays on the weak, people with pre existing conditions and the immune compromised. Our children playing exposes them to a greater risk of contracting the virus and as the saying goes, “The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.” Please keep this in mind because the reality is unlike pro sports like the NBA, we aren’t going to isolate our kids in a bubble. So their chances of spreading this is far greater by playing especially if we do nothing except take our chances.

    We all want the kids to play, but as we evaluate what is the best course of action we must look past ourselves in making the decision. It is a mighty tough thing to live with knowing that you passed this along to a loved one, a friend or even a complete stranger. It’s even tougher if that person wasn’t as lucky as your child in recovering. I say this as someone who lost a good friend to suicide after they killed someone in a car accident that was not their fault.

    I think we are devaluing our children thinking that they are not resilient enough to handle disappointment and sacrifice. I have kids who are part of the class of 2020. They lost prom, senior trips, graduation and more. You know what? They survived. It didn’t take long before they turned their focus to College and haven’t looked back. Our greatest growth as human beings comes when we are at our lowest. I’m proud of how my kids have handled the disappointment and I promise you they are much stronger for it. Believe in them and support them. This pandemic sucks, we all hate it but just because we all want it gone doesn’t make it so.

Leave a Comment