Sign our petition: Help MA Parents Watch Their Kids Play Football This Spring

Sign our petition: Help MA Parents Watch Their Kids Play Football This Spring

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Virna O'Brien started this petition to angelot@franklinps.net and

Appeal to Allow Parents at Away Football Games

We are writing to appeal to you to consider allowing parents the opportunity to attend away football games to support their football players. The rule that strongly discourages parents from attending away games is arbitrary and unreasonable. We work, we shop, we dine outside of town borders among citizens of neighboring towns, but we are unable to attend an outdoor sporting event even though the distance between us is greater than the width of a football field. The risk of Covid-19 spread is very low in outdoor settings, especially when masks are worn. Researchers say infections can happen outdoors, but the chances are massively reduced. CDC states that “spectators at sporting events should consider the number of Covid-19 cases both where they live and where the sporting event is taking place before deciding to attend.” In addition, “CDC has not recommended a specific limit on the number of people that are safe to attend a sporting event.” This suggests that the onus is on the spectators to decide for themselves whether or not to assume the risk of transmission.

More important than the assumption of risk is the potential for injury. As you know, football is a high risk sport with high potential for injury. The devastating injury that A.J. Quetta sustained on the hockey rink is fresh in parents’ minds, along with the unimaginable reality that his parents weren’t there to support him when it happened. For this reason alone, parents should be allowed, even required, to be at every football game. Not all injuries are devastating ones. There are less serious injuries that still require hospitalization or urgent care—concussions, broken bones, sprained ankles, etc. Parents are the transporters, caregivers and health advocates for their injured kids. We have an obligation to our kids and a right to be present in the event of injury. Or, even just to say “No, my kid cannot return to play” when he gets his bell rung. The trainer is excellent and cares deeply for our kids but she simply cannot watchdog 22 kids on the field at the same time.  Watching is what we do best. Cheering is what the kids count on us for.

This past year has been rife with missed education and missed opportunities. When we pushed the football season to March to foster safe play in an uncertain environment, we hurt some kids’ chances for college football opportunities, especially at D2-D3 schools. That could have turned them off to even playing, but they’re playing anyway. You know why? Because they love it. Intensely.

Kids play for the love of the sport, but they also play for the fanfare, the glory, and the approval of their parents. They play for the “Atta boys!” They long to hear their name announced over the loudspeaker for sacking the quarterback, for throwing the Hail Mary, for crossing the end zone and for making the field goal. Most of these kids have been playing since childhood and have imagined their senior year of football, but not like this. There’s no wearing game day jerseys down the hall or locker room antics. Kids who play offense and defense are limited to one side. Tell a kid who loves to tackle that he can only play offense and you break his heart. They’ve made so many concessions already. The least we can do is get out there and support them at ALL games, not just home games. They need the fans as much as we need to be there—to hype them up, to show we care, to celebrate them.

Please reconsider this decision so we can enjoy the season as it was meant to be enjoyed—together. As one student athlete stated, “The hype of having fans makes you want to do better. Winning a competition means more when the fans are celebrating you.” When a kid makes that incredible play, they look beyond their teammates, their coaches, the screaming fans in search of their folks. That shared moment of connection, of celebration, of validation, of sheer emotion and pride is nothing short of priceless and simply cannot be replicated on a screen. Let’s not take this away from them or us.    

Respectfully,

Hockomock Football Families and Friends

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!