By Chris Yow
Southern parents tend to hand out advice in a colloquial manner. Look before you leap, still water runs deep… you get the point. The one I bring to you today is “Better safe than sorry.”
Today, I write to you about the impending disaster that looms if we don’t live by that simple piece of advice. Depending on where you might get your data — there are plenty of studies to meet your viewpoint — wearing a mask can be completely harmless to potentially killing the person wearing it.
I try to do my own independent research any time I put my opinion out into the world about a controversial matter, and I choose to err on the side of caution. Why? Because high school — and college, pro — sports must take place. Football, especially.
Two major reasons for this: Football generally underwrites the finances for a vast majority of other sports and athletic scholarships are the only avenue for a large number of students to ever attend college.
It isn’t any secret in the sports world that revenue from football gate money, concessions and other streams is passed on to supplement those “non-revenue” sports. Without an entire season of football, the likelihood of other sports being financially able to continue playing becomes grim. We’ve seen sports disappear from college campuses already. Cincinnati dropped men’s soccer, Akron eliminated three entire programs, while Forman ended its baseball and men’s lacrosse teams.
If there is any chance for those type programs at the high school level can be salvaged, it’s by saving football. If there is any chance wearing a mask while in public can help that happen — better safe than sorry.
Additionally, there is a large number of student-athletes at high schools across the country that are depending on their hard work on the athletic fields to pay off with a college education. College athletic budgets are being slashed, scholarships cut. Uncertainty abounds in the world of sports, despite the MLB and NBA deciding to play — for now. The NFL has elected to forego its Hall of Fame game scheduled for more than a month from now.
Without those sports being successful with their current plans, it could spell disaster.
Let me be clear that I believe college and pro football will happen. I think the money behind it is a driving factor, and Vegas doesn’t lose. I also think public fear will affect those bottom lines. And if they do happen, high school sports must also happen — whatever it takes.
Parents will have to make that decision with their children. If their child wants to participate, parents are going to need to waive any potential lawsuits in writing. That decision to play will affect the home life of those athletes as well, which is why there must be a conversation with every single athlete and their parents.
We know TSSAA Director Bernard Childress has said there can’t be an all-or-nothing rule, so their job will also be incredibly difficult when the decision time comes. How the football season looks isn’t ultimately up to the consumer, but getting to have a season could be affected by you and me.
So, why not just take that advice you’ve heard your entire life? Better safe than sorry.
Chris Yow is the multimedia director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ChrisYow14.