A letter to fellow student-athletes

It’s crunch time. Just like when you need that final touchdown, goal, point, or basket, now is the time we need a final play to save the game.

This is a bit of a different game. It’s a game that will decide the future of high school education, sports, clubs, and activities.

I get it. I’m in your shoes, too. I know how badly you want to enjoy summer and all that comes with it. I get how different online school was and how quickly we had to adjust from in-person interaction every day to seeing our friends through a screen. I get how it’s easy to want to fall back to old habits and routines because we miss our “old” lives.

But I also get this. There are people risking their lives and fighting on the front lines of this pandemic every single day. Some people wake up in the morning and don’t know if this will be the day they contract COVID-19 and bring it home to their families. Front line workers go to work every day to fight a deadly virus surrounded by unknowns.

But there is one thing we do know. Something has to change. If we want to step out on the field, court, stage, or even through the double doors of the school building in the fall, something has to change.

We, as athletes, need to take charge and lead by example as we have been taught to do throughout our athletic careers. We need to realize the severity of this pandemic and understand that there are things we can be doing to help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19.

We need to listen to the experts, wear a mask, stay socially distant, and if possible, stay home. If we don’t do our part in this “crunch time” we won’t be able to see the four walls inside the school, or step out on the court for our senior season. We need to take action now so we don’t sit around in two months wondering what we could’ve done to allow a safe return to school.

Those thoughts have to occur now. Let’s think about how the decisions our age-group makes now will affect us and the safe return to school and athletics. Most importantly, let’s think about how the choices we make now can affect the people we love and care about the most.

It’s not about the loss or devastation that has come from this pandemic. It’s about what we are doing now to make a better environment for ourselves in three months. Can wearing a mask when you’re close to people guarantee that you won’t contract COVID-19? No. But wearing a mask, being smart, and staying out of large groups will help stop the spread of a deadly disease and hopefully allow us to do what we love, come August.

Let’s work together to foster a change of heart among high schoolers, and realize that we need to take action, take responsibility, and work towards a safe return to high school sports, however that may be.

And one thing is for sure: Whenever we step back onto our respective athletic fields, we will have gained a new appreciation for the ability to play the sport we love every day.

Let’s do what we can now to make that happen.

– Brooke Simons

Brooke Simons is a student-athlete at Hilton Head Island High School and an aspiring journalist. She has a passion for photography and broadcasting.

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