An online petition calling for the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association (SHSAA) to move the football season to spring 2021 has more than 1,700 signatures and counting.
In the coming weeks, Saskatchewan school districts will choose whether or not to participate in high school athletics. Football is scheduled to begin on Sept. 28, but with a shortened one-month season, and mini-league games involving a maximum of 30 competitors, some are saying students are paying too high a price.
“The importance of sport to the kids that play it cannot be overstated for their well-being,” said Jason Farrell, whose son Jake is a quarterback at Yorkton Regional High School.
Farrell signed the petition because he believes that at this moment, the school board has more important issues to tackle, rather than also administering extracurricular sports.
“With all the things that the administration needs to deal with right now, I don’t even know why they’re putting that on the table right now,” Farrell said.
“Let’s get these kids back to school first, let’s get that figured out, let’s make sure we’re creating a healthy environment for them,” he said.
Heidi Watrych has a similar perspective. Her oldest son just grafted from Yorkton Regional High School, and she has three more kids currently competing in different football divisions.
“My fear is that the athletes are not going to get everything that they could possibly get, and they’ve already lost a lot,” said Watrych.
Watrych feels playing in the Spring of 2021 is an easy alternative to playing four weeks in October, possibly with no competition.
The petition argues a shortened football season will have devastating mental and emotional health repercussions, in addition to hampering post-secondary changes.
“Students that are looking for the opportunities beyond high school, the opportunities for competition and the opportunities to become better people in their communities,” said Watrych.
Both parents say they’re comfortable having their children participate come Sept. 28, however they want the SHSAA to reconsider a Spring season.
“Let’s give everyone a meaningful season,” noted Farrell. “Whether it be volleyball, basketball, soccer, football because everything has their own mandates within the sports.”