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It Shouldn’t Have To Be Like This

As we approach five and a half months spent in “quarantine” sports are once again facing the question of whether or not to proceed playing. This time it’s college football’s turn. The saddest part of this whole thing is that it could have been avoided.

It Shouldn’t Have To Be Like This

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

As we approach five and a half months spent in “quarantine”, sports are once again facing the question of whether or not to proceed playing. This time it’s college football’s turn. The MAC, PAC12, and the BIG10 have already postponed or canceled their seasons.

Sure, there will be some resistance. No one is going to be shocked that the ACC and SEC will likely stall for as long as possible. But, eventually, those dominos will likely fall as well. The saddest part of this whole thing is that it could have been avoided.

However, professional adults don’t handle the weight that comes with making a decision of this magnitude. They are not the victims of the lack of coherent leadership and planning this time around.

Nope. It’s college students.

Leading players on the college football scene have taken to social media to make their voices heard about wanting to play this year. And who can blame them? If I were them I’d want to play, too. I’m not them and I want them to play.

But the fact of the matter is, as much as they hate to admit and try to deny it, they are still kids. They aren’t the adults they think they are yet. I know that sounds harsh. When I was in college you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise. But hindsight is 20/20, and I can now own up to the fact that I’m glad I still had adults around to help me when my judgement wasn’t always the best. I mean, it still isn’t, but that’s a story for another time and place.

While it might not be their actual parents that are putting their feet down and telling them that it’s not safe to play at the moment (although I’m sure many of them are) the decisions are falling on their university parents. AKA the University presidents, chancellors, and commissioners. The NCAA is likely to come out at a some point and make a somewhat unified statement. But who knows when that will be since they aren’t exactly a beacon for great leadership, either.

So, You Say You Want A Revolution?

Believe me, I’m thrilled to see the students standing up for what they feel and insisting that their voices start to carry some weight. It doesn’t matter if the message is #WeWantToPlay or it’s the pacts signed by hundreds of students saying that they aren’t comfortable with putting themselves at risk for something that they don’t even get compensated for. And please don’t “at” me about athletic scholarship advantages right now. We can have that discussion at another date and time. I’m using what available brain power I have left to get these thoughts out.

The long and short of it is that the NCAA, and college sports, want to maintain this image and branding of amateurism. So if that’s the case it means that the tough decisions such as these get taken out of the students’ hands. Personally, it’s nice to see them make what feels like the right decision for once.

Since apparently it’s hard enough for another group of people who said “When and Where” to follow a strict set of guidelines and protocols under our current state of the world, we can’t really look to all the professionals for guidance here.

**Cough cough BASEBALL** Yeah, I said it. We’ve seen that grown adults have a hard enough time following the rules, yet we expect thousands of college students to be able to stick to them?! Yeah, ok, sure. Again, do you remember what you were like in college? No, me neither, but I blame that on Smirnoff Ices and 5 o’clock vodka.

Sadly the players don’t have a union to speak on their behalf and to fight to ensure that these measures are followed and adhered to at the same levels in every setting. Nor do the universities have the billions of dollars to deal with possible lawsuits that could result of trying to proceed with their seasons as is. We still have so much to learn about this disease and not only its immediate, but also its long term effects. College football could be dealing with the fallout of trying to push through this for the next several decades.

Close To Home

This hits home in a way that I’m not going to explain here fully at the moment. When I was a kid and I wasn’t at either a soccer game, a play rehearsal, or a combination of both, I spent Saturday afternoons watching college football with my dad. My dad had a stroke last September. I’ve mentioned throughout some of my pieces here in the last 9 months that I had left NYC after trying to pursue a performing career for the last decade or so. Well, that’s why.

Needless to say that the first Saturday I was home in November, the one thing I looked forward to most was sitting next to my dad on the couch and watching a full afternoon of college football. It was one of the things I was also looking forward to most when this September rolled around. I’m not going to miss having football in the fall for the same reasons as many of you, but believe me when I say that I will miss it and that I wanted it back as much as or more than any of you.

It should go unsaid, but keep those Saturday afternoons, or whatever they may be for you and your loved ones, close to your heart. If there’s anything that a pandemic or a personal health crisis has shown us it’s that everything can and will change in a matter of days and it may be a long time before we can have them back.

We can only hope that we will treasure them even more once they do return to “normal”.

So, if I’ve come off pessimistic or beat down it’s probably because I am. How can I not be at this point? This could have been avoided. There was plenty of time to prepare. It just feels like we are part of a silent hour at school that keeps getting extended because one, or several, kids won’t shut their big fat mouths.

And until then wear a mask so we can have football back.

An actor by degree, sports lover by day, and a bartender by night. As a native of suburban Detroit it took moving to NYC for Katie to fully realize her love of all things Michigan and Detroit sports. Feel free to engage her in her love of the coolest city and prettiest state in the country and why she will always root for Ohio State to lose every sporting event ever. No, really I am dead serious about that last statement.

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