Students Should Not be Concerned

Taya Demianova '23, Arts and Culture Editor

Coronavirus has changed all of our lives; our worlds have been flipped upside down. Science has proven that the most important thing to do in order to prevent the spread of the virus is to stay home and avoid contact with all non-family members as much as possible. Bringing back the daily practice and play of sports, as important as it may be to our psychological well being, would not help flatten the curve. By practicing sports at the current time, we are risking not only our own health, but the health of our family members and close ones. We need to focus on the bigger task at hand. The faster we start taking necessary precautions and limiting contact with others, the faster we will be able to come back to school and continue playing sports. While sports scholarships are at risk, so are the lives of ourselves, our friends, and our families.

While many strong precautions had been enforced at the beginning of the pandemic’s arrival in America, in recent months, some slack has been cut, causing an enormous spike in cases. This month, New Mexico has been averaging around 1,000 cases a day consistently compared to only 200 a day from March to September. New Mexico hospitalizations more than tripled from a month ago, KRQE states. The shortage of doctors has been forcing our hospitals to plead for assistance from out-of-state professionals. At this point, we know that the pandemic situation isn’t going to get better, at least for a while. So why do athletes want to keep playing sports when they should be staying home and saving lives?

Although high school athletics are important, so is protecting people more prone to the virus. A big issue brought up by athletes when Governor Lujan-Grisham issued a ban on fall sports was college scholarships. Kids who are reliant on these scholarships were very upset, knowing that the loss of this sports season would influence their chance of admission into top colleges. While this can be entirely frustrating to some, there are positive ways of looking at things. With extra time on their hands, students can focus on improving their grades. According to the New Mexico Activities Association, 70 percent of student athletes had at least one failing grade in September. Because of the epidemic, colleges have been forced to look at school grades, as they have become the most important factor in identifying top students. Without sports, athletes can focus on getting their grades up and looking good for colleges in a different way. Students can find new extracurricular activities they can work on from home and fill up their college resume to look attractive to top universities in place of their usual fall sport. And, for low income students, they can work towards receiving merit, rather than athletic, scholarships from universities.

The college admission process will be very different this year, but recruiters will understand the unusual circumstances athletes are under..Elite colleges around the country will be more lenient, and some won’t even be looking at important college application necessities from past years like standardized test scores. There are many other ways for student athletes to impress recruiters from the safety of their home. Instead of going out and protesting, students should be focusing on finding unique solutions that help them stand out in a crowd of athletes who have lost a season. Losing this fall season doesn’t mean losing admission.
Now is a time for all New Mexicans to come together instead of being forced apart. We can all agree on one thing; we want to prevent as much loss as possible. Although sports are an enormous part of student social life and extracurricular activities, they have also played a part in the rapid spread of the virus. Right now, as the cases are surging, it is not safe to go on playing. It is also insensitive to those who have lost family members due to the virus to go on practicing like nothing is happening and risking even more lives in the process. Instead of ruminating over a lost season, we need to be taking the necessary precautions to avoid the unnecessary spread so that we can get back on campus and continue practicing sports as soon and safely as possible.

Jesus Barraza ‘21 explains, “I’m disappointed that odds are I won’t have a senior season, but when it comes to the health of our community I completely understand. I have a really close family with a few members that are at an increased risk for severe illness from covid, so I get why the governor is doing what she’s doing. You know if one player, one ref, or fan has it, they could easily spread it to a number of people and that’s not what we want. I know a couple of people that had it, and luckily they’re still here, but from what I’ve been told, it’s not pretty. People talk about quarantining if they have symptoms, but as I hope most people know, those that are asymptomatic are just as likely to spread the virus.”