Flyer Athletes Can’t Be Quarantined


Courtesy of K

Tyler Thomas (12) stands confident, ready to lead the band at the home football game against SLUH.

The empty stands of the Flyers Field leave unanswered questions and uncertainty regarding the current state of high school sports amid a global pandemic. Because of St. Louis County’s COVID-19 guidelines, no fall sport season will feel the same this year. For many students fall sports are a celebration of the start of the school year and school spirit, and games including Green and Gold, Pink Out, and homecoming, will be especially missed. 

 In July, St. Louis County executive Sam Page announced that there would be no competition among high school high-contact sports teams in St. Louis County, citing the spike in cases among teenagers. Under these guidelines, practices were still allowed, with strict enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing. 

However, many were upset and frustrated with the rules regarding competition. #LetThemPlay became a viral movement, across not only St. Louis County, but the country. Parents, coaches and athletes argued that fall sports seasons are pointless without the competition. Rallies and protests occurred around Page’s and other health officials’ offices, because of their decision to mandate a non-negotionable policy. 

It is possible that the efforts of the #LetThemPlay movement were successful. As of late September, Page and county executives lifted some restrictions for almost all fall sports, allowing competition to resume with limited spectators and social distancing. However for a while with the plug still pulled on football, one of the most popular and high-contact sports was stopped all together. As of October, however, high school football resumed along with the pep of the cheerleaders, flyerettes and Spirit of St. Louis marching band. 

Although all sports have been majorly affected by the county restrictions and guidelines, marching band members have had quite the complicated start to their fall season. Tyler Thomas (12), president of the marching band attended two Let Them Play rallies, and is hopeful for the rest of the season. With practices dropping from 10 to 2 hours a week, and restrictions cancelling competitions, Thomas and the band have been working to keep the band together.

“It seems like people radicalize what the Let Them Play people are like. ‘Oh they just want people to play sports, they don’t care about people dying.’ No that’s not at all true.” said Thomas.

He expressed that the people behind the Let Them Play movement still want student athletes to be safe, just that no sports at all can have more of a negative effect on the well being of students.

“I think it has taken a tremendous toll on students, mental health wise. Sports have always been something that bring people together, it’s something where the marching band, the football players, the flyerettes- they are all out there supporting each other.” 

Thomas also discussed how the lack of fall sports and events has affected the school community.

“It’s a unifying event, and since we don’t have that anymore, I think there is a lot more division and separation within the high school”.

As the district moves forward into Phase 2, as well as a possibly harsh winter, the future of sports and activities is still very undecided.