By DAVID LOPEZ
Were this any other year, last Friday night would have gleamed with crowds and stadium lights as the Valley high school football season commenced.
In Cameron County, however, which has reported over 20,000 COVID cases, an emergency order from the county judge will not allow fall sports to resume in person until in-person schooling begins. For San Benito CISD, that date is Nov. 3. However, Public Relations Director Isabel Gonzales said in an email that athletic activities will begin October 5.
In support of allowing athletes a fall season, some people locally have begun sharing the hashtag #LetThemPlay and student-athletes have shared #WeWantToPlay on social media sites.
The move comes as districts across the nation are canceling fall sports altogether. So far, only La Joya ISD and Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD, which plays RGV schools, are the only two schools in south Texas to cancel their entire schedule of fall sports seasons.
Michael Banda, a senior varsity Greyhound, took to Twitter and Facebook to share his thoughts in a post which has now been shared over 100 times and received hundreds of reactions.
“I, just like every other student-athlete in the RGV, know that we are in nationwide pandemic and we all know that the RGV is a HOTSPOT right now, but some of us have scholarships on the line from baseball, football, basketball, softball, etc. ” read Banda’s post.
However, his post was not without controversy.
“I think you should let go of the sports scholarship and maybe try actual education…where you prioritize spelling, statistics, and even science” read one comment.
Still, Banda said the negativity has not fazed him.
“Nothing is bringing me down; it won’t break me,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’ve talked and we know what we’re supposed to do in order to have a season.”
Banda said he has discussed this issue with family, coaches, and other athletes from the Valley, and he assures that they boys are ready to follow any protocol, such as temperature checks before every game, as long as they are allowed to play on the field.
“I’m not only fighting for my season, but for the athletes around the valley,” he said. “Us seniors, we wanted this last chapter to happen; we’ve been waiting for it since our freshman year, and now that we have this pandemic nationwide, a lot of us aren’t going to get to play our senior season. Once one of our teams in our district gets canceled, that can bring the rest of us down and force us to call our season off.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or grab a copy of the Sept. 4–10, 2020 issue of the NEWS.