Let’s get on with sports, sensibly

September 25, 2020

The State Board of Education recently voted 4-3 to green-light resumption of interscholastic sports starting with this fall season. The approval comes, as expected, with several requirements for observing precautions to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

One parent who attended the virtual board meeting argued for approval saying that students need some normalcy in their lives.

Organized sports, for the participants and spectators, are not only part of the normalcy we all long for a return to, but are also a unifying force for our society at all levels, from secondary schools up to national professional leagues.

Those who watched NFL games this past weekend may have seen ads sponsored by the league fostering unity and diversity. They were positive and apolitical. In a sea of so many messages of political divisiveness, they were a refreshing reprieve. When such messages are seen by millions, they can’t help but be constructive.

While interscholastic sports are important for the students who participate, other extracurricular activities are also important for the many students who don’t participate in sports. Those activities are a part of their normalcy.

Still, we have to recognize that the concept of normalcy is changing in our society. We may soon see an effective vaccine for COVID-19, but we will also have to be prepared to deal with other viruses lurking in the shadow of corona.

One lesson learned from COVID-19 is that mitigation measures can be, have been and will be effective against other potential airborne viruses. This past April, at the height of the virus, Beebe Healthcare reported 76 in-hospital patients with or being actively monitored for possible coronavirus infection. This week, that number is reportedly down to one. That’s largely a result of masking, social distancing and hand-washing.

If we follow proven mitigation measures, we can enjoy sports and extracurricular activities without constant fear of infection.

Let the games begin, but let’s be sensible enough to take the precautions that will help keep us all safe.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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