On November 19, 2020, Governor Tim Walz put in place a new executive order due to the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. This order includes many new restrictions regarding social gatherings, whether outdoors or indoors, causing many businesses and schools to shut down for at least the next month. Many were expecting new restrictions, but few were more anxious than students awaiting a decision on winter sports and activities. Although many hoped sports would be able to continue, the Governor announced that there would be a pause in organized sports for four weeks. This decision left many athletes unhappy. A large group of athletes began to speak out about how detrimental this would be for their sport seasons on social media. Their main argument was that the order by the governor was simply unnecessary – but is it really?
According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, there have been 143,633 positive cases since Halloween in Minnesota. In Stearns County, there have been a total of 12,910 cases as of November 25, 2020, ranking it as the fourth highest number of cases in the state. Those case reports are indisputable facts, yet they are still difficult to fully come to terms with. Although the numbers continue to climb daily, I continue to hear from others my age the claim that COVID-19 has a low mortality rate, especially low among teenagers. They ask – why is this a concern for us? Well, let’s take a moment and think about how our individual action affect the grand scheme of things. Just think, when you or someone you know test positive, those numbers are now a part of the state’s total COVID cases, and on an even larger scale, the country’s. Let’s look at an example of why this is a concern for our age group. Let’s say a teammate unknowingly contracts the virus, but they show no symptoms, so they have no reason to believe they are a danger to anyone else. You practice and interact with that teammate, as do others, while still not knowing that your teammate has the virus. A few days later they test positive, and now suddenly you have to be in quarantine. Now many people have to get tested, as well as notify other people they have interacted with that they could be at risk. These types of spread events are the exact situations our state will be trying to avoid for the next four weeks by postponing high school athletics and other organized sports.
Every action that is taken in these unprecedented times has an effect on you or someone else. The impact of these actions may be irreversible. I believe that the new executive order from is so important in our state right now, even if it means sports are postponed. I play basketball, and completely understand the emotions other athletes are feeling right now, but for the greater good, I can be patient for the next few weeks. I feel the mentality of many needs to be shifted to accept this reality. The sacrifice of pausing for four weeks will quite literally save peoples lives. The actions that we put forward in the next few weeks are crucial if we want winter activities to happen. I suggest that we take a moment to reflect on how our actions truly affect others, realizing that collectively we can change the outcome for our state, and our country.