Should sports resume for the winter season?

Dylan Baumgardner & Cirina Matos, Editors

The Devils’ Tale provides two perspectives on answering the question of whether or not sports should resume.

NO–An opinion on why sports should not resume by Dylan Baumgardner, Online Editor

A positive COVID-19  case on the Boys Basketball team originally meant that team shut down for their quarantine.  Then the decision was made Nov. 24 to halt school sports for the next two weeks, pausing all high school and middle school sports. When schools went to remote learning, the district then extended the pause through Dec. 18.  The decision to pause sports has struck a divide in how people feel about the way the district is handling the pandemic.

I think it is a good thing that the district is taking such an extreme measure to ensure the safety of staff and students. Now that the school is online, if the school launches sports again, it leads some to feel that the approach is inconsistent and messy. I think sports should stay closed so that everyone is ensured to be safe when it comes to academic learning in Tallmadge schools. 

Preventing a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 should be the number one priority at Tallmadge Schools, the entire country even, though it is clear the country has failed to do that. With this new protection being implemented for online learning, this tells me that the school cares and is doing its best to make sure to keep the students safe. But with opening sports up again Dec. 19, it seems to me that TCS is unable to decide if we go all or nothing on shutting down sports and going remote. Closing down sports for the time being is the best option.

TCS transitioned to online learning because Summit County reached Level 4 in the amount of COVID-19 cases, meaning that there has been severe exposure and spread of COVID-19. If this is enough to shut down the school and fully move to remote learning, sports should be shut down alongside it. If sports resumes while schools are remote, this decision feels like a huge disservice to the Tallmadge community to me.

Not only has TCS switched to online learning, other activities are being either pushed back or cancelled due to the pandemic. For example, the THS Fall Play has been pushed back to January. It is not fair to others for school sports to continue on but other activities are unable to continue. 

If sports are staying open but other activities are being pushed back/cancelled, one could say that those other activities should open along with the sports. But to me that just seems ignorant because of the current situation the entire country is under. COVID-19 cases have become increasingly severe, and it is not the time to be risking people’s health for participation in a sport or a club.

If ensuring the community’s safety from COVID-19 is as important to TCS as it is to me, then sports should stay shut down for the time being alongside everything else. It does not deserve to be put on a pedestal. To change this is to be vocal about it just like the sports players were before the school year began. It is a time to take the pandemic seriously, not a time to play something you can play in your backyard.

YES–an opinion on why sports should resume by Cirina Matos, Social Media Editor

Due to COVID-19 threatening to harm the safety of the Tallmadge community, the fate of winter sports continuing this year is very uncertain. With teams being quarantined and the cancellation of all sports for at least four weeks, athletes are starting to worry about being able to play at all. Myself included. As a varsity cheerleader, I look forward to each of my practices and all of the basketball games. Not being able to cheer at this season would be devastating. Therefore, I believe that the winter sports season should not be cancelled, and sports should be able to resume for many reasons.

Many of these athletes look forward to playing their sport all year long. Some have worked their entire lives to play a high school sport. It is especially important to seniors. Picture this: you started playing basketball for a youth program in elementary school, and every year following you continued to work harder and harder to be better, and then suddenly your final year to showcase all of your hard work and dedication is taken away from you. We saw what happened in the spring. So many athletes lost their season and it was devastating to many of them. Why do that again? Plus, the youth in our community are participating in sports, one questions why high school and middle school athletes are the ones on pause. 

The mental health of athletes is being greatly affected. According to a study on the mental health of student athletes during the pandemic by NCAA, 4 in 5 athletes surveyed indicated that both local regulations and a lack of access to appropriate facilities were barriers to athletics training. Other emotional barriers included a fear of exposure to COVID-19 (43%), lack of motivation (40%), feelings of stress or anxiety (21%), and sadness or depression (13%). For many of these athletes, practices and games are a safe place for them. With everything going on in the world today, the mental health of everyone is being greatly affected. The social interaction between teammates and time to be active can really help a lot of these kids to stay positive. The administrators, coaches, athletes and community made it work in the fall.  We ask that the administrators recognize the benefits of these athletes working with one group of people and seeing familiar people with a common interest and that sports be allowed to continue. 

Tallmadge should be able to continue the winter sports season with the same, if not more safety protocols as the fall season. In the fall, each sport managed to get through the entire season safely with many strict rules and protocols. The Tallmadge administration and athletic department did a fantastic job at keeping sports going safely. Why not give it the chance this winter? If there is a great amount of cases in athletics alone, then it is understandable to cancel or postpone the season. But why assume it will happen? We assumed it would happen in the fall, but it did not. Give these athletes a chance.  There are many area, local schools that are making it work for their athletes. 

This season should not be taken away from these athletes. With many safety protocols, it can be done. With these athletes working their entire lives for a season, their mental health being greatly affected, and many other districts safely continuing with sports just like we did in the fall, we can get it done. To the Tallmadge administration and athletic department, continue the amazing efforts you had in the fall, and give the winter athletes the same chance you did the fall athletes.