STL County High School Athletes and Parents Petition Against Cancellation of Fall Sports Competitons

St.+Louis+County+athletes+and+parents+protest+at+the+Let+Them+Play+rally+against+County+Executive++Sam+Page%E2%80%99s+decision+to+cancel+high+school+sports+games.

Ben Hughes

St. Louis County athletes and parents protest at the Let Them Play rally against County Executive Sam Page’s decision to cancel high school sports games.

By Annie McGinnis, Marquette High School

After St. Louis County Executive Sam Page cancelled competitions for moderate and high contact high school fall sports effective Friday, Sept. 11, a student-made online petition quickly gained attention.

Executive Order 17 states that athletes participating in soccer, volleyball, field hockey, softball and football can’t take part in any competitions, scrimmages or showcases on their schedule.

On Monday, Sept. 7, Jimmy Grumich, Chaminade student, created a petition on Change.Org, an online fundraising site, petitioning against the cancellation of fall sports games.

The petition targets the St. Louis County Department of Health, proposing that the Department is disregarding the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force’s fall sports outline for the continuation of youth sports games.

The petition circulated around the St. Louis County area, receiving signatures from parents as well as the athletes, many of whom are MHS students. As of Thursday, Sep. 17, the total number of signatures exceeded 17,000.

Doug Moore, member of the St. Louis County Executive Office, responded to the overwhelming support for the petition.

“Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy and marches and protests are powerful ways to communicate and highlight issues,” Moore said.

However, he said youth sports games will remain cancelled in St. Louis County in concern for the athlete’s health.

“Social distancing and frequent hand washing are essential to curbing this virus and getting numbers down among teens to levels where public health officials can seriously consider youth sports competitions,” Moore said. He does not know an estimation of when sports will begin again in St. Louis County.

Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy and marches and protests are powerful ways to communicate and highlight issues.”

— Doug Moore, St. Louis County Executive Office member

Senior Jenna Lensmeyer is a member of the varsity field hockey team and signed and shared this petition with her immediate family and teammates.

“Fall sports, and sports in general, are so important to me and so many other students,” Lensmeyer said.

She said worries the cancellation of games will interfere with important bonding among teammates and coaches during her fall season.

Lensmeyer also said high school athletes rely on their sport to improve mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That is incredibly important, especially during a time where everything we do is limited in some way, shape or form,” Lensmeyer said.

David Ellington, MHS parent, said he also believes in the same physical and mental benefits for athletes playing fall sports, which moved him to sign the petition.

Ellington said the athletes should be able to participate in sports since they are not a high risk group for the virus. ”It is vital to their future education when it comes to scholarships and going to college,” Ellington said.

Lensmeyer and Ellington are uncertain of the impact the petition will have on affecting the decision of Sam Page, but they said they believe in it’s effectiveness in creating awareness of this subject.

Rockwood School District announced Friday, Sept. 18, that moderate and high contact fall sports are allowed to compete in games outside of St. Louis County. The MHS Activities Director and coaches have not communicated any schedules yet for those moderate and high contact sports.

This story was originally published on Marquette Messenger on September 23, 2020.