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The good, the bad, and the misinformed: Breaking down Illinois return to play guidelines

Well it has certainly been a while. With very little on the high school sports calendar, I thought it would be nice to do a quick check in.

Unless you have been living under a rock over the past three months, you know that schools have started back up but there have been severe limitations on high school athletics.

This has cause a rather steep divide (to put it mildly) between the “Let them play” crowd and the “You know we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, right?” crowd.

So where does that leave us now?

Well, to be honest, there aren’t that many more answers than when we first started, and that is part of the issue.

Let’s first give credit where credit is due. The IHSA has done a tremendous job of adapting to the constraints given to them. The four season sports schedule was the best out of a bad situation, and gave every sport the best chance to have a competitive season.

There was recently some pushback on that four season sports calendar as DuPage county parents attempted to file a temporary restraining order against the IHSA’s return to play guidelines, but that was shot down and the lawsuit has since been dropped.

To bring some clarification to the issue, this was not a lawsuit to allow student athletes to play right away, but rather, to go back to the traditional three sport season, which in my humble opinion, would have been a massive mistake.

Let’s say that temporary restraining order passes. Then what? Are you going to play three weeks of a football season? Odds are those games never even get played, and football players are completely out of luck.

Look, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we are in unprecedented times. Nobody on earth alive today has ever had to deal with such circumstances, there is no roadmap to “recovery.”

Athletes, I know at this moment sports seem like your whole world, I’ve been there, I’ve lived it. Parents I know you’re looking out for your kids interests, but there is just no feasible way to compete right now. It’s reckless and selfish.

I make my livelihood on sports as well, and guess what? Believe it or not, I’m in the exact same boat as you.

Obvious cynicism aside, there are certainly some areas which can be improved upon. Communication between the IHSA, the governor, and the department of public health has been lacking, bordering on nonexistent.

I’m not saying a concrete plan has to be put in place by the end of this week, as everything these days is fluid, but an open forum of communication isn’t too much to ask .

Be diligent, work towards bringing back sports in a safe environment, but don’t put those at-risk population in the firing line just for some Friday Night Lights.

And please, wear your masks so we can get sports back.





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