The cross country team and I all sat six feet apart on the pavement of the Northwest parking lot. A place that felt foreign, as if we hadn’t seen it in years. It was the first time in weeks that the sky turned gray and the temperature cooled. A lot of us had sweatshirts or pants but for those who didn’t we had empathy from a distance.
It was 3:20 p.m. My phone was propped against my leg as I watched the Shawnee Mission School District board meeting live. Today’s topic, playing a fall sports season. My team had all gathered in hopes that the board would pass the act and we could run. At this point we expected nothing. As I looked around everyone was silent. I couldn’t quite tell what my teammates were thinking at that moment. I had to ask myself, what’s the right thing to do?
When it comes to being socially distanced, I’ve really tried my best these past months. Besides my inner circle of people, which was small, and my job, I was pretty isolated all summer. When the board voted “yes” to fall sports, everyone on the team suddenly became my new family. All of us now relying on each other to make the right decisions.
I saw many people I recognized protesting in favor of a sports season in the hours leading up to the board meeting. Although I love my fall sport, these protests were lost on me. Something about asking for sports during this unprecedented time didn’t seem much of a priority. Health should always be the focus. All I want is to go back to school and see my teachers. My first reaction to everything was that my season can wait.
Since practices started, social distancing is enforced and masks are worn everytime we aren’t doing our workout. If we don’t follow health guidelines, our season will be over.
My dilemma remains. The kids who have vulnerable families or are vulnerable to the virus themselves are always on my mind. The last thing I want is to have my cross country season negatively impact someone’s health. All I want for us as a student body is to really be selfless. We’re so lucky to have a season, so let’s be smart. We have to realize we rely on one another now more than ever.