I get it.
If you’re the parent of a high school athlete, I understand if you’re unhappy.
The decision by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to limit attendance at prep sporting events to two spectators per each “athlete, performer or competitor” may seem inconvenient.
Guess what? Convenience disappeared as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began.
And if you’re not used to it by now, well…
So let’s put the governor’s decision into perspective.
Iowa got through a summer high school season with few issues. With the crowning of state football champions this weekend, the fall season will be concluded — again, with few issues.
Now the winter season is approaching, and you know what? There was a good chance that season might not have started on time.
The rumblings on Monday preceding Reynolds’ emergency declaration were ominous. There was the possibility that schools might be shut down for in-person learning until after January 1, which would have meant no sports, or any extracurricular activities, at all until the beginning of 2021.
Instead, it will be left up to the school districts that have in-person or hybrid schedules to choose whether to play.
Some have already delayed the start of the season. Some are moving forward.
It’s better than nothing.
Consider what high school sports are like in Illinois right now. The winter seasons are on hold, and there’s a possibility that all of the sports seasons could be crammed into a period of 4-5 months.
If you want unfairness, consider the choices athletes in that state may have to make into the coming weeks.
Reynolds’ ruling angered some with the state football championships coming up. An online petition to allow more people to attend the games at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls had more than 3,200 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.
“This is important because, this is a once in a life time opportunity for students and parents,” the petition said.
“To witness their friends and family compete in the highest level of high school football. This opportunity is never promised again, the seniors have already had enough taken from them this year and this would be the worst thing you could do to them and our community. We have made it this far, All we’re asking is one more week. SEND THIS TO EVERYONE!!”
Again, I understand it. I have COVID-19 fatigue. We all do.
But this, too, must be understood — the numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising in Iowa, and around the nation. Which means there has to be limits. The lives affected by this virus, directly or indirectly, are what has to be considered now.
There are vaccines coming, and maybe life gets back to somewhat normal sooner rather than later.
For now, we can deal with being inconvenienced for a while longer.
Smaller crowds for winter sports events, with everyone in attendance wearing masks?Put in perspective, it could be a lot worse.
John Bohnenkamp is an award-winning sports editor and reporter, and is a regular contributor to the Pen City Current.
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