080520-GJHS football 1-CPT

District 51 football players worked out all summer, hoping to get a jump-start on this fall's season. The season was then pushed to spring, but the past week has been a whirlwind on on-again, off-again speculation that Colorado could play again this fall.

I don’t know if it’s safe to play football this fall.

Honestly, no one does.

All I know is it’s time to stop treating high school kids like yo-yos.

I believe everyone involved in the issue of whether Colorado high schools should walk back on the four-season athletic schedule and allow football teams to play this fall is trying to do the right thing for kids.

It’s just been handled so, so poorly.

I’m all for transparency, and I appreciate institutions being forthcoming with information. But if ever there was a time for the Colorado High School Activities Association and Gov. Jared Polis’ office to agree to ignore social media accounts and discuss the possibilities behind closed doors, it was last week.

CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green, a former stellar high school athlete in the state, truly wants what’s best for high school kids.

She’s damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t, depending on your point of view. COVID-19 has everyone flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to deciding when it might be safe to get back to “normal.”

Blanford-Green was letting folks know she and her organization want to get kids back on the field if it’s safe. Via Twitter, she said she would speak to Polis and his COVID-19 team about necessary variances to play.

Polis, meanwhile, matched Blanford-Green tweet-for-tweet, saying his office would be “thrilled” to discuss a new plan.

Twitter blew up.

The game was being played in states all around them, states with higher COVID-19 case numbers were reversing earlier decisions and moving the sport back to fall, so, coaches and players asked, why not here?

The next day they got their answer — the CHSAA Board of Directors said no, citing several reasons, including the various “return-to-learn models” throughout the state, and that by keeping the “high contact” fall sports in the spring, it was giving all students the chance to participate.

The board listed “the safety, physical and emotional well-being” of students were paramount in every decision the board makes.

And yet, the actions last week did nothing but affect the emotional well-being of those students.

Since last March high school students have shown nothing but resilience. Coaches tell them time and time again, “control what you can control.” That coaching mantra has never been more true.

Kids understood they have no control over the coronavirus, other than to take precautions to try to avoid contracting it. They have no control over decisions that are being made, and when the seasons were rearranged in early August, yes, they were disappointed again, but they adapted.

Last week, they were yo-yo’d right back into thinking about football in the fall, one step toward normal, then gut-punched when they were told sorry, you’re back to spring.

On Friday, players and parents across the state staged rallies, including in Delta, demanding to play.

That same day, in yet another bizarre 2020 moment, CHSAA said, hold on, we’re going to see if we can make this work — again. Another release from CHSAA said Polis’ COVID-19 Response Team had changed its position from earlier in the week about roster sizes and other issues, and would meet again with Blanford-Green.

At some point this week, it’s likely we’ll hear if fall football is on or off.

For the kids’ sake, let’s hope this is the last “around the world” spin of the yo-yo.

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