Why high school athletes should be allowed to play

By minimizing COVID risks with safety protocols, we can eliminate risks of NOT being active, committed to something


Caleb Melville

By following safety protocols, the girls soccer season has stayed on track, with the team poised to win a district title and then make a run in the state playoffs.

Anna McClellan, design and visuals editor

Soccer has been a part of my life for the past 11 years. I’ve played ever since I joined my first team, the Shooting Stars. My mom coached along with my friend’s dad, and it stayed that way for five years until our team decided we all wanted to play club. Soccer had become my life. And I wasn’t sure what I’d do without it. 

When everything stopped, when COVID-19 made the world stand still, I didn’t know what to do.

Joining a high school soccer team was a moment I had been dreaming of for years, let alone making varsity my freshman year. 

In the fall, I would have two days of soccer practice for my club team, and two or three days of soccer class, with at least one club team game on the weekend. When school soccer started, it was practices every day until 6 p.m. and games twice a week. 

Soccer wasn’t just an activity anymore, it became a way of life. So when everything stopped, when COVID-19 made the world stand still, I didn’t know what to do. 

I went to bed one night last March thinking that the shutdowns in other states would never reach us and that we would go far in playoffs and make our statement but woke up the next day to school being canceled for two weeks. Then it was three. Then it was the semester. And before we knew it they canceled practices and then playoffs. 

My soccer career kicked off 11 years ago when I was a Shooting Star … literally.

And soccer wasn’t the only thing that was lost, baseball, track, softball, dance, theatre, the list goes on and on. The amount of time, energy and effort every student, coach and director put in to finish the year out strong felt put to waste, like everything we had worked so long and hard for stopped, so we had nothing left to do. 

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing at the time. We needed to shut down in order to ensure the safety of everyone, to prevent the virus from spreading as much as possible so we could get it under control. It was the right thing to do, but a lot of people still suffered.  

High school students are working to find what they love to do. Most of us are finding our passions and what we want to do going into college, and our teachers, our coaches, our directors, they are the ones supporting us to reach our goals. 

These goals can be something as small as not forgetting a line on stage or as big as making the playoffs with your team. It varies for everyone but when we put our minds to it we commit, and when COVID made the world stand still it felt like someone just said, “No. You can’t do that anymore.” Our goals were just stopped. It didn’t matter what we said or did. We couldn’t compete or perform anymore. 

If all sports and activities have the ability to take the necessary precautions, then they should be allowed to happen.

Our mental health can be detrimental at this age. One in five teenagers suffers from at least one form of mental illness. I have struggled with depression and anxiety, and recently got diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This means that when I don’t get enough sun or vitamin D and time outside, I can get depressed and fall into a pit that’s hard for me to climb out of. So when COVID hit, it was months spent inside. I’m the type of person who would rather get outside and go on a hike or play soccer than binge-watch a TV show all day.

Soccer got me out of my house, had me committed and made me get outside so that I was exercising, getting my energy out and getting rid of that stress and anxiety. 

These past few months I have been playing soccer for McCallum, and we are taking every precaution to stay safe: limiting interactions outside of the team, wearing masks at every practice and every game, staying six feet apart on water breaks. It’s hard, but we had a goal to make the playoffs, and right now we are sitting first in district with nine wins and one tie. Only having to reschedule games due to the snowpocalypse and not because of COVID. 

If all sports and activities have the ability to take the necessary precautions, then they should be allowed to happen.

In high school, I may be a Knight and not a Shooting Star, but every once in a while I get to shoot like a star. Photo by Caleb Melville.