The Acts of Young Athletes During These Unprecedented Times

By: Chloe Bruno

Young athletes are struggling to get better and compete in their sports. As COVID cases go down in California, less restrictions are allowing athletes to get together and practice. However the restrictions that are in place depend on the school district. In the Placentia Yorba-Linda School District they are allowing athletes to come on campus and practice with face masks, while enforcing 6 feet distance, making the athletes bring their own water, checking their temperatures often, and disinfecting the equipment regularly. While this is good news for sports, it’s not enough for some of them that involve close contact like football, wrestling, basketball, soccer, etc. 

High school athletes are very restricted at this time, as they already have disadvantages compared to athletes in programs out of school. This puts the current seniors’ sports in uncertainty for their college career. For now in California there will be a season later in the year but if cases go back up there may not be one which could make it difficult or impossible for colleges to give out scholarships based on an athletes performance on their high school team. This also makes an impact on the sports program because many athletes’ parents may pull them from their sports because of concerns about the virus. This makes teams smaller and causes less money to go to the program and increases the possibility of the program being dropped. Many high schools programs are practicing off campus at undisclosed locations like a park or even a coach’s house. Some athletes are even getting together by themselves to workout on their own.

The only way athletes are getting real competition is if they are in a club or another program outside of school. These athletes are practicing non stop and even traveling out of state to compete as there are no games or tournaments in California. They’re also going out of the county just to practice with less restrictions. This can be way pricier than normal since they are traveling farther than usual. This brings concerns about whether it is safe or not to have a lot of people in one location at a time. It’s even more concerning since there will be a lot more people traveling due to the small amount of games and tournaments in certain areas. These athletes and parents are receiving criticism but they continue to go and play in their games and tournaments. 

With this all happening it can only put athletes with a lower income at a disadvantage. It’s hard for athletes to travel long distances for practices especially if they or their parents can’t drive them there. While many high schools are free and can be paid for by fundraising, they cannot afford to pay for club practices that can range from $50-$200 a month. This can also cause young athletes to lose motivation even if there is a chance there will be a season, which can lead them to put on more unhealthy weight or even do nothing.

During these times young athletes are taking a hit. Although for some it may not be a future for them, it’s a way they get out of trouble.  But it’s hard not knowing what will happen and continuing to work when the future is undetermined. There are some young athletes who are taking action to become better athletes and practice non stop. This puts other athletes who live where the cases are higher at a disadvantage, so kids in the city are struggling much more than the kids who live elsewhere. CIF is trying their best to find a way to have a season for the young athletes but if the cases continue to stay high there won’t be one.