West Hartford Football Season Amidst the Covid Pandemic

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Santi Vasquez

Hall High School Varsity Quarterback Brooks McConnell practicing with his mask on following CDC guidelines

Santi Vasquez, Editor

Hall High School Football players speak out on COVID and their 2020 season that has been altered by COVID and most likely been cancelled

 

Football is the biggest sport in the United States, even in high school it is a sport that amasses the most people and interest. Due to COVID the 2020/21 football season in the fall was cancelled and replaced with a 7 on 7 style format with nobody in the stands to watch. The CIAC decided to cancel the football 2020 season for precautionary reasons and stopping the spread of covid. Many people have different opinions on the matter going even as far as starting petitions to fight the ruling. On September 9th there were 1,000 people in the football community who participated in a rally at the State Capitol. The option to play wasn’t offered to the students, some of which have waited their whole high school career to get a chance to play and even prove themselves to colleges which would help them financially and help better their futures. On September 29th the CIAC announced their alternative plan in the spring, that would have conditioning on February 17th and games be played March 19th through April 17th. Football is being played at the professional, collegiate , and for most states the high school level. None of which are forcing players to play, at the professional and collegiate level football is being allowed to be played and players are being given the option to play or opt out of the season. When looking at high school football some states are cancelling their seasons as a whole not even giving players the opportunity to play. Players at all levels of the sport have a reason to continue playing whether that be for the payout they receive in the NFL, or the chance to prove yourself to professional teams or college teams.

Map of all the states that are either playing high school football like usual or states that have delayed the season from happening and moved it to 2021.

How do football players feel about losing their chance to play? Many are frustrated at the CIAC and feel like their decision was unfair. “I do think that was unfair because other states around the country people were playing football safely and I don’t see that big of a difference between not having gear and not having gear. I think it’s unfair that every other sport but us get to have their season.” said Hall High School Varsity Quarterback Brooks McConnell, after being asked about if the soccer season being allowed to play was unfair or not. The 2020/21 Soccer season had slight changes: no fans, practice with masks, and a shorter season. These changes were minor to those of the football season who had no fans, went from 11v11 to 7v7, and a shortened schedule. With the 7v7 format it makes some positions like the offensive line meaningless, stripping away their chance to actually play. Other players and families believed the season should have been played due to most states in the nation allowing their high schools to play, 

“the towns and cities and states that did have football seasons this fall showed no correlation with having a football season and increased cases, there’s no community outbreaks within the places that did have their seasons and i don’t think that the amount of cases would have been affected” said Hall High School Linebacker Isaac Levine. States all over the country are having to cancel their football season/games as it goes on due to COVID cases. Although games are being cancelled due to COVID there are no indications that these cases are being produced within the football programs and are most likely being spread due to out of school contact. Thousands of high school football games have been played without the spread of the virus but when players or coaches decide to act carelessly and break CDC guidelines that is when problems arise.

Hall High School Varsity Quarterback Brooks McConnell practicing with his mask on following CDC guidelines (Santi Vasquez )

Football is something these players have invested time into practicing. “ I’ve dedicated a lot of time practicing and working out with my teammates and staying in shape which has been a big part of my high school career “ stated Hall High School Varsity Quarterback Brooks McConnell added on to that saying “It’s very important it’s something we’ve all worked hard for and it sucks that that hard work isn’t being paid off”. These players are willing to go lengths to play their season, but they aren’t the only ones upset about the new changes to the football season, fans have also expressed their issues with the new plan. “I think it should’ve happened, I think there were enough safety precautions and I think it would have helped the school and boosted morale” said Hall high sports fanatic Josh Liebman. Fans of the sport and of Hall High School were also upset at the cancelled season and not being able to attend the games they have been attending their whole high school experience. Having fans social distance and follow CDC guidelines is a task much simpler than that of getting the players in the program to do so. Fans can sort themselves out in the stands and the school itself can limit the amount of people allowed into the bleachers. “Yes, because fans can be socially distanced and have masks and be careful” commented Hall high sports fanatic Josh Liebman when asked if the new spring alternative plan should allow fans. 

Empty bleachers at Hall that were not used this season due to the no fan policy (Santi Vasquez )

West Hartford residents are optimistic about the new alternative spring season and hopeful at the chance to have their football season still played amongst the global pandemic. 

To keep updated with the Football season go to https://we-ha.com/ 

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