Image: Let Them Play rally

Let them play.

That’s the message players, parents and families from all across the state are looking to spread.

“It’s hard to take it,” said Jack DuRussel of Reese. “It’s your senior year. It’s your chance to show what you have. Your ability. And it’s just kind of taken from you.”

It’s DuRussel’s senior year.

The Michigan High School Athletics Association’s decision to postpone football until springtime was blindsiding for these young athletes.

“We followed all the guidelines, precautions and did everything right,” said Jake Kowalski of Reese. “We had our hopes up for the first week of practice and the rug got pulled out from under us.”

Hundreds took to the capitol steps with signs that said things like “Stop playing politics, start playing football” and “Our kids, our choice – let them play.”

“We want to be optimistic for them, but there’s a fear that says ‘Will they ever get to play?’” said Nancy Brinkman-Englehardt, a parent.

Nancy and Wendy from Sebawing both have sons on the team who are going into their senior year.

“He’s been playing since third grade,” said Wendy Witzke-Bixman, a parent. “His aspirations are to play after, on into college. Unfortunately, all of this has really put a damper on that.”

They say it’s more than a game – it’s a way of having a hobby, making friends and setting goals.

“I think all sports should be played,” said Witzke-Bixman. “Our kids need it for their mental health. There’s so much more to the game of football that’s taught and experienced. It’s for the kids.”

They hope their voices are heard, because at the end of the day, they just want to play.

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(1) comment

Bill C.

Anyone who was "blindsided" by this decision, or who does not understand the rationale behind it, needs to set sports aside and concentrate wholly on education. Because they have obviously been neglecting it to this point.

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