Dear PIAA, Please Do Not Terminate Our Sports Seasons!

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          My name is Emi Curcio. I am a senior softball player for the Frazier Commodores. My school is located in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

          In light of recent events surrounding the spread of COVID-19, many major sports organizations have been suspending and canceling their seasons to prevent the spread of the virus. Within the past few days, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has taken action to hinder the spread of the virus by suspending the remainder of the winter sport seasons. Just today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has closed all schools for the next 10 business days. This decision also brings spring sports to a halt until school returns.

          It has been brought to my attention that PIAA officials will be meeting within the next few days to make what will likely be a final decision on the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year sports seasons. I would like to outline the sentiments of not only the affected athletes, but also of many teachers, coaches, parents, sports fans, and community members.

          As a representative of the groups listed above, I would like to start by saying that I understand the severity of this situation. I also understand that it is ultimately the PIAA's decision to determine the fate of the season. However, at this time, I wholeheartedly believe that there are many more reasons to continue the postponement until it is deemed safe to play, rather than to cancel the remainder of the seasons.

          Being a senior, I am concerned that this may force me, as well as many others, to give up their final season of high school sports. For many, this will be the last chance to achieve longtime goals. Many athletes have spent months perfecting their craft and working on skills to help their teams (and themselves in the case of individual sports) to success during the winter and spring seasons. These athletes have worked hard to have the opportunity to play out their final seasons as a representative of their schools. If the seasons are canceled, these senior athletes will have put on their school uniform for the last time without even knowing it.

          Although it is very special to me personally, I am not only concerned for the preservation of the seniors' seasons. I would also like to point out that high school sports are responsible for teaching and reinforcing lifelong skills to many adolescents. They learn leadership and teamwork skills by being a part of these teams. In addition to teaching these crucial skills, it also helps to keep them active. This will help to teach them healthy lifestyle skills, which will help to prevent other potential health issues for them in the future.

          All I ask is for the PIAA to take into consideration the fact that the outlook on the spread of COVID-19 may be very different at the end of Governor Wolf's two week school cancellation. This means that making the decision to terminate the seasons before this preventative measure is fully evaluated could potentially be a bad decision that will directly affect thousands high school athletes across the state. We ask that the season is postponed, rather than canceled, until there is a better grasp upon the situation and its potential severity within the coming weeks.

          I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this. By signing this petition, you are helping to communicate the thoughts and feelings of many high school athletes across the state to the PIAA and other proper authorities who are handling this situation. As a representative of these athletes and other affected groups, I would like to thank you for time and consideration.


                        Emi Curcio