Living in the time on a pandemic, we as people cling fervently onto normalcy. We pray that change will come, and we will resume a life that is devoid of social distance. Many have had to put their life on hold as the world heals. Graduations were cancelled, schools were vacant and for student athletes, many spent time watching dust collect on their beloved equipment.
Some cried, others took to the street in fury as governors refused to okay sports. The protests, while nonviolent, sparked mass controversy across Michigan, among other states. People opposed the large droves of protestors taking to streets, as the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. Others banded together and protested as athletes, coaches, students and fans to protest for playtime.
“As a senior in high school who had their season cancelled, I can understand the disappointment,” said Danielle Dumoulin (24’). “However, I don’t believe that jeopardizing the health and safety of others because you want to play a sport is fair. We have to understand the situation we are currently in and act in a way that benefits all people.”
Understanding is the key word to Dumoulin’s thoughts. We must understand the feelings of the athletes, but not let them overshadow the pandemic. According to Mlive.com, over 2,000 individuals were present at the last rally, not to mention the hundreds of social media posts directed at the governor.
The omnipotent theme within these protests is that student athletes feel as if they have been wronged and have pulled the proverbial receipts from data regarding COVID-19 spreading through athletics. A scientific study ran by MDHSS, deduced a 99.8 precent negative rate over 30,000 tests. Thus, marking huge strides for protestors. It appears that dust will have to find other objects to accumulate on.
“I genuinely believe in the right to a peaceful assembly,” said Morgan Sweitzer (’22). “However, things are complicated right now due to the pandemic and social distancing issues and on that the pandemic isn’t over. As much as we all want to passionately get back to normal life, we must do what we can to protect ourselves and others. It is important for young people to have interaction and engagement but to also stay healthy.”
Michigan’s government officials claim that the resurgence of winter sports was not due to the protests, but as we have seen within the last year, change is bread from the common man. The idea of change continues to be a prevalent theme as we embark into a new year, new presidency and new social precedent. As a society, we are beginning to see the first fledglings of an improved society- we still have long to go, but what we have accomplished should be celebrated.
It is not to say that student athletes shouldn’t feel a sense of victory as they head back to the various courts and fields this winter, but they should also be reminded of how capable of change we are if we band together. The same positivity should carry these students and coaches through their seasons, so that they may be reminded of how lucky they are to have the opportunity to play a sport they love. It is a hope that athletes will be given a safe environment to compete in.
It is the goal of this article to encourage the notion of understanding and by doing so, we as a society will heal from the pandemic, emerging as people who have found a long-lost compassion for others.