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The MPA Is Off The Rails With This One

Have you lost your mind because I’ll help you find it!

Stanley Hudson- The Office.

It’s a great quote from an iconic show. And it’s exactly what someone needs to ask of the good folks at the Maine Principals Association after their stunning decision on Thursday to green light high school football in our state.

Look, I am a sports guy. I love high school sports. I have played and broadcast hundreds of high school games in my life. And I’m happy for the kids who might get to play soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf and volleyball this fall.

But I still can’t believe there are adults in positions of authority that endorse playing high school ( and high risk per the CDC) football games beginning next month.

Let me just recap where we are at:

We are living in a civil state of emergency declared by the Governor.

Many school districts are only allowing students back in the building two days a week.

A significant percentage of parents are keeping their kids home utilizing remote learning.

My kids have their temperatures taken when they go to school. They wear masks. They seat 6 feet apart. They are no longer allowed to use the water fountains. Teachers rotate classes, not the students. They eat lunch in the classroom, or outside six feet apart if it’s sunny. There are fans circulating fresh air constantly in their classroom.

And how about this one? If they want to wear clothes to participate in gym they have to wear them to school because they can’t change in the locker room. Yet full teams are going to be allowed to do so?

Other states in New England have passed on the season or are moving with extreme caution.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island have moved football to the spring. New Hampshire is still considering playing but it has been suggested athletes there could remote learn until the end of season to avoid bringing the virus to classmates.

Vermont says no 11 on 11 but they will try a limited schedule of 7-7 football.

Connecticut will play perhaps just a six game season and won't let any games occur until October 1.

And yet somehow here in he Pine Tree State we think it’s a good idea to put kids on a bus, have them change together in small locker rooms, pile up on the practice field and hit opponents on the gridiron.

Here are some of the suggestions they might have kids follow to keep football safe:

  • Expanding sidelines to 10 yard line so players can distance

  • More time during timeouts so players get own bottle of water

  • Mouth guards remain in as much as possible

  • Sanitize hands if interacting with mouth guards

  • Three to four balls to be rotated throughout the game and sanitized when not in play

  • Keep helmet on while on the sideline

Nursing homes in our state have been on lockdown since March. Nobody in or out. Staff are tested regularly and basically wear hazmat suits. Yet there still have been outbreaks. So I’m sure keeping a helmet on will keep everyone protected on the sidelines.

There’s no small college football in Maine this fall.

The Maine Black Bears will not be playing.

Bars remain closed in our state. If you come to my restaurant you have to wear a mask. Half our tables are closed. Men can’t stand side by side at urinals. But “Play ball!”

In reality it’s not a given football in Maine fall sports will actually occur. School boards, Superintendents, DHS, and perhaps even Governor Mills all still have time to help the folks at the MPA recover their minds ,which have clearly been lost.

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