There’s a glimmer of hope that Lincoln County high school athletes will still have an opportunity to participate in a limited sports schedule this school year. We certainly would like to see that.
Gov. Kate Brown opened a door on Wednesday when she announced guidelines that high schools must follow to resume outdoor contact sports. Some non-contact sports have already been given the green light.
“This has been a difficult year for Oregon’s youth athletes and, as our COVID-19 numbers have dropped, I have been committed to working with our health experts to reevaluate our protocols for sports,” Brown said. “School sports play an important role in fostering students’ mental, emotional and physical health. We will proceed with caution to ensure that teams are following health and safety precautions to protect our athletes, their families and their communities.”
There will still be certain restrictions for counties falling within the extreme and high risk categories — which includes Lincoln County. But the possibility of seeing some semblance of high school sports for our young people is encouraging. We understand why sports had to be put on hold during the pandemic, but nonetheless it’s tragic for the athletes, especially the graduating seniors, many of whom have worked hard for years, only to see their final opportunity shut down.
As we’ve said before, it’s not just about the win-loss column. These young athletes are learning much more than the skills and fundamentals of the sports they are involved in. They are also learning lessons they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They are learning the value of hard work and that, despite their best efforts, things don’t always go the way they would like. They have learned the value of working with their teammates to achieve the desired goal — another great life lesson.
So even if local sports end up being played during a much shorter season, we still would like to see them take place. We hope the school district can figure out a way to make it happen.
And if these young athletes are able to hit the courts and fields for some competitive play yet this school year, we encourage you to be there for them. They can certainly use our support in what has been a very difficult and trying school year, and if nothing else, it’s a great way to come together as a community. We certainly need more of that these days.