Rhode Island Interscholastic league set Covid-19 plans into place to allow high school fall sports to compete minus, the biggest sport in the state, football.
When the news came down about football not being allowed to play in the fall it sent a shockwave through every high school in Rhode Island. The shockwave did not come from the cancellation, but from the fact that all other fall sports were going to be allowed to play. Confusion, anger, sadness and more emotions set in through out the largest and most passionate sporting community in the state.
Anyone who thought the Rhode Island football community would take the Interscholastic league‘s decison lying down does not respect, understand or apprecitate what it takes to be involved in football and the people who are associated with the sport. When you are anyway involved in the game of football you will come across some of the most savy, team oriented and firey people on the planet. Try and take away their proverbial "LIFE" and watch how they bond together to fight for what is theirs.
Would anyone want it any other way? Parents send their kids to play the sport of football to learn teamwork, leadership, character, and more attributes that will set them up as respectable men and women for the rest of their lives. The coaches, players and administrators of this sport are some of the finest people you will ever meet. I personally have three sons who have played Rhode Island high school football. Luckily my boys have been associated with some of the best coaching staffs in the state. Through ups and downs it has made them better overall people.
I also have had the honor and privledge of working side by side with almost every head football coach in Rhode Island in some way, shape or form. Some have driven miles with their kids to jump at the opportunity to be able to promote them as exceptional student athletes. The converstations are always about the players and their team of coaches around them. They talk about their communities, atheltic directors and ground keepers, rarely do I hear any of them talk about what they do as a coach. The coaches accolades always came when the players had their chance to speak and used their minutes to share fun stories and addoration for their coaches. It was alsways such a great moment to be a part of.
Now this group of people, these "Ride or Dies" are forced to forgo their fall football season. They are told "it could be worse" and just accept playing football sometime in late february. Football in February is all fine and good to go through the robitcs of a season. What about the loss of tradition?
No thrid quarters with the fall sun setting while the bright lights turn on over the field, No cold nights with freezing fingers, no hot chocolate and big wooly hats and blankets for the fans, no visit to the local restaruant at 8am on Thanksgiving for a breakfast special and libations. Dad's and unlces talking about how their favorite player is going to light it up that morning. No coaches huggin their families as they enter the field before the game of a crisp holiday morning. No tradition for players, the last ride on Turkey Day. The boys taking pictuers and hugging their coaches one last time and passing on the tradition to the underclassmen.
To call this goup of people "whiney" for voicing their opinions and fighting for what they want on public forums is actually a travesty and in my opinion unconstitutional. To say the football community is "Selfish" and "unprofessional" is bascially saying that their players, programs, family and friends are not worth fighting for. Football is family to me. I have made life long friends being a Coach, promoter and just a plain old football Dad. I would fight for my players, sons, my sons coaches, teammates and fellow coaches without question.
In my opinion it is unprofessional to call people names and to call the Rhode Island football leadership's character into question by asking what they are teaching the kids that look up to them by letting their voices be heard. Football defintely carries diamonds in the rough, but these diamonds are also the most loyal people on the block. Put me in a room with coaches from all sports and I will have a respect for each and evey one of them. Put me in a room full of football coaches and I will sit and listen intently for hours, soaking in the stories and knowledge they bring to the table. Football is just different. Rhode Island football leaders and players should be comended for fighting for what they believe in, not chastized for it.