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Spring sports: Let the games begin

March 19, 2021

Sports, with their elements of competition, fairness and teamwork, play an outsized and positive role in our national culture. Anyone who reads the pages of the Cape Gazette knows that sports also play an important role in our local culture.

That’s why Cape Henlopen School District struck a notably sour chord when it announced it was canceling all spring middle school sports.

The pandemic has unquestionably created unforeseeable and inconceivable challenges. We feel gratitude and admiration for the district’s deft handling of the hybrid approach to virtual and in-school learning. Allowing children the benefits of continued social contact, and pioneering and perfecting the use of professionally developed online learning systems while protecting the health of students and all staff is nothing short of amazing.

We also get the transportation complexities, especially with trying to figure out how to convey students to and from games and practices on top of trying to keep the ranks of bus drivers filled and dealing with the hybrid schedule.

However, given the solid volunteer culture in the Cape community, and the strong desire for hundreds of middle schoolers to get outside and regain normalcy, there are ways to aid children and families who need help with transportation.

Spring sports take place outside where social distancing is far more natural. COVID-19 cases and numbers are declining. Vaccinations are accelerating. Children whose families can’t afford travel teams fall victim to the economic disparity that public school sports otherwise address. Middle school spring sports would help address mental and physical health issues.

And spring sports are about more than just the three-and-a-half weeks of an official season. They involve at least three more weeks of practice; they involve parents and siblings and friends of the athletes, who all gain additional reasons to get outside.

Finally, other districts and organizations are full steam ahead on making spring sports happen for their children.

The pros outweigh the cons. Cape District's middle schoolers shouldn’t be left behind.

Cape District's administration should reverse its position on middle school sports and start taking steps needed to make them happen.

  • 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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