Who Will Fight for the Kids?
When it comes to sports, anybody and everybody thinks about professional athletes, but nobody ever thinks about kids. Millions of youth athletes have been affected by Covid-19 just as much as professional athletes. Youth football players are not able to practice tackling, soccer players aren’t able to throw the ball in or run shoulder to shoulder. Some of these players, if not all of them aspire to become professional athletes as they look up to players like Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Lebron James and other professionals.
We have seen the world and fans make exceptions for these athletes to be able to get back on the field. Yet youth athletes who play the game because they love it have to stand on the sidelines 6 ft apart and watch the millionaires on tv play the game for money. Seniors that play high school sports to try and get scholarships to schools that they could only dream to afford one day have had these hopes slashed because of Covid-19. Why is this fair to them to see their families excited for the NBA, MLB, NFL, and other leagues coming back? Who fights for these players?
Non Profit groups that provide services like American Youth Soccer Organization, which is the largest and oldest youth soccer organization in the United States, have lost money that has been donated. They have laid off large amounts of their national staff that help oversee the program across the nation just to be able to continue to bring players onto the pitch. Professional sports team owners lost money and fought for the league and players to reach agreements to have games come back. Where is the fight for these programs? If professional sports can come back, why not youth sports? Why can’t youth sports set and follow guidelines to keep players safe and also allow these players to be able to continue to follow their dreams?
Professional sports has laid the groundwork for the nation to follow, limiting or not having any fans at games, which understandably would be hard as fans at youth games are mostly parents and families, but there is enough for room for social distancing on the sidelines for parents to be able to stay at least 6ft apart. Players on the sidelines, coaches and spectators all would be required to wear facial coverings, as they did during the NBA playoffs when coaches and players were allowed to have family go to Orlando and join them. It can be done to allow these athletes to play a game they love, not because they are making millions. With these leagues and schools not being allowed to play these games, who will fight for the kids?