ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Orange County Public Schools has announced its indefinite postponement of all fall sports due to COVID-19. That’s the wrong move.
Football. Swimming. Golf. Marching Band. Bowling. Cross Country.
Add them to the list of relics of society stolen by coronavirus, or rather, the OCPS School Board.
The country is in a time of turmoil not seen for decades. Coronaviruses cases are spreading like wildfire, cities are spinning after weeks of riots and destruction, and the controversial 2020 election is drawing nearer every day. What we need is unity and hope, not postponing school sports.
The coronavirus has taken the lives of many, and my heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones. But what makes me angry is that we continue to make the situation worse by ignoring one fundamental truth: physical health isn’t everything.
People, governments, and now school boards are forgetting that emotional health is just as important, if not more important, than our physical wellbeing.
We decided to shut down the economy and throw millions of people into bitter unemployment, not the virus. We decided to forbid families from seeing dying loved ones in hospitals and from attending funerals, not the virus. We decided to impose lockdowns and curfews, trapping millions of people suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, and domestic abuse at home, not the virus.
While the death of a loved one is devastating, the deep griefs our nation is feeling right now are of our own design. We continue to value physical health over mental wellbeing, instead of giving people the freedom to choose what is best for them.
With a virus with upwards of a 99% survival rate, to tell business owners, families, and students how to live their lives is a step towards authoritarianism. Anyone who is at risk, concerned, or wanting to protect their loved ones should be encouraged to stay home and to stay from work. But let those who need to keep their business running to feed their family, or who are trying to keep our educational and financial institutes afloat, be allowed to do so.
The way to unite the nation is to let us have our differences.
People are different. Situations are different. And choices will invariably be different.
Orange County School Board’s decision to postpone fall sports wasn’t an attempt to keep children and families safe. It was a blanket decision to take away the freedom of students and communities when they need it most. Students and families are already facing an upcoming semester of online classes and lost experiences, OCPS just made it worse.
As I said before, emotional wellbeing is everything. And high schools sports offer students and communities something no government policy ever can: fun. The thrill of a football stadium on a cool Friday night. The buzz of a swimming tournament at the YMCA. The amazement of a marching band competition at Camping World Stadium.
High School sports are more than just activities, they are the lifeblood of communities. They motivate students to succeed in school. They are opportunities for communities to unite and support a common cause. They are experiences students and families will cherish forever.
America needs a return to normalcy. We need it for our emotional health. It’s been almost half a year of quarantining and social distancing. We are tired. The nation is tired. We need to feel alive again, and that starts in our local schools. That starts by giving kids back their football, their marching band, their dancing, their art, and everything else we’ve denied them. They deserve it.
We have taken a lot from ourselves. Let’s not take away this shot at unity and hope in a time of such division and fear.