To Play or not to Play?

Athletes from Monarch football share their thoughts about Omaha Public Schools cancelling school and sports.

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Junior Tyson Money waits for the next play at the Papio South and Monarch football game.

Samantha Riggs, Feature Editor

As an athlete, the start to a new season is one of the most thrilling parts of a new school year. Working out every day of the summer, getting up early, practicing, and lifting weights is part of a routine to prepare them for the new competition for the upcoming season. After working so hard and putting hours in during your summer break, imagine waking up to hear the news that your season was cancelled.

Recently, the Omaha Public School District cancelled their sports season in regards to Covid-19 and students are enrolled in an online learning program.

For many athletes, sports is another way to get into colleges and some will pickup a career with sports in their futures. But without a season, it is hard to determine if this is taking away these athletes chances to continue their path with sports in college.

“You can’t go on college visits due to Covid and getting a season cancelled would make it harder to get your name out there,” junior Tyson Money said. 

Watching film is the only way that college coaches are seeing athletes right now, so it is very important to high school athletes that their season continues. Many athletes around Omaha feel the pain for the OPS students.

“Sports mean everything to me and I couldn’t imagine it being taken away,” Money said.

Athletics do more for these athletes besides letting them compete.

“Sports keep me in the right friend groups, makes me work harder at school, and makes me a better person,” junior Kaden Johnson said.

Sports shape young kids’ character and helps them with real life stresses and tough situations outside of their sport. 

“Sports are the reason I am who I am,” Money said. “Being around the coaches help teach these athletes how to become young men, not just athletes.”

After school activities offer a break in the day and a getaway for homework and everyday life stresses for students. 

“Football gives me something to do when I’m mad and it’s been a routine to go to football everyday after school since I was little,” Money said.

With Covid, there also has been a huge increase in numbers with domestic violence and problems with students not being able to access food at home. For many, school provides an opportunity for breakfast and lunch during the day.

“I do think it’s affecting the players because sports may be the time they need away from their home lives,” Johnson said.

With everything that has been taken from the OPS athletes, the love for the game and recruiting process is still the biggest concern.

“For me it has taken away my ability to go on visits, but for these athletes, their opportunity to play sports in college might be taken away,” Johnson said.

As sports continue in other school districts of Omaha, people feel the pain for OPS students and athletes. As many students continue to voice their opinions, they hope for a change.