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.