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OUR VIEW: Sports decision cruel but prudent
OUR VIEW

OUR VIEW: Sports decision cruel but prudent

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Today’s young people have a shot at earning a position as a great generation.

In whatever fashion they (and we) escape this present uncharted reality, they’ll have certainly made their sacrifices early.

In addition to whatever educational or social experiences they’ll miss with the absence of the traditional packed schoolroom setting, they’re going to miss extracurricular activities. The postponement of most fall sports takes away some high-profile moments.

We’ll acknowledge that worse things could happen than to lose three months of football or volleyball, and just until spring. We’re also wary of what else might take place the rest of this year. Nevertheless, the loss of the opportunity to recreate the things you’ve observed while growing up is sad and will likely delay or delete future plans.

Parents and loved ones will miss the opportunities they’ve had previously or they’ve seen their peers experience. Tailgating and marching bands and games under the lights are a decades-long tradition. They’ll suffer disappointment as well.

But the postponement, however depressing, is also prudent. Among the new things we’ve learned since COVID-19 became a part of our lives is that younger people aren’t as immune as we were initially told. Even among those who have recovered from bouts with the virus, additional and long-term complications have resulted. We may be at the tail end of the second wave of the virus, but we’re not sure what the future holds. And seeing numbers increase in states around the union – we’re specifically looking at nearby Missouri – give additional cause for concern.

High school sports, in this case, cannot be considered the same way we’re considering college and professional games. Even some colleges have already made the fall sports postponement decisions. The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, the CCIW, has called off its fall sports. Larger universities have announced the elimination of some sports.

The economic realities are what make college and professional football different. There are cities like Happy Valley, Pennsylvania; West Lafayette, Indiana; South Bend, Indiana; Champaign, Illinois; and more whose economy turns on consumers who arrive because of the attraction of college sports. In larger cities where professional sports are hosted, there’s the same kind of economic effect. Putting stadium workers, maintenance people, service workers surrounding the stadiums out of jobs is a concern, and that’s before we even get to the distribution of broadcast frees. At the majority of colleges, it’s TV rights money from the football and men’s basketball programs that funds the remainder of the athletic department’s offering.

Also, as is the case with high school sports, college and professional sports also foster a sense of community, that sense of which we continue to be robbed.

The high school sports experience cannot be compared with professional sports specifically because of the money and work factor. Whether professional sports start or continue depends on the professionals. They are adults who are making decisions for themselves. Some of them have already made the decision to not take a risk.

Officials’ jobs when connected with high schoolers include keeping them healthy. Will the students suffer? Inevitably. The bargain we are attempting to strike is reducing the amount of suffering.

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