Governor Desantis discusses the importance of sports in this upcoming school year during COVID with Mayor Curry and local sports coaches at UNF arena

Darvin Nelson, Features Editor

Governor Desantis met with Mayor Curry and other local officials at UNF for a roundtable discussion about sports in schools, for the upcoming school year, amid coronavirus.

“When we went to distance learning, the activities and sports stopped for kids, […] and those are moments that they are not going to be able to get back, particularly the seniors. […] I think it’s important, I think it’s critical, we have boys’ and girls’ sports available for our students. Again, if a parent chooses to not have their kids play in any of these endeavors, that is totally fine – that’s a prenatal choice – but I know a lot of parents who really want the opportunity to have their sons and daughters to compete and play.”  

The state is expected to consider parent’s opinions about the subject. The parental choice is the bedrock of the state’s approach, said Desantis. Some parents may prefer distance learning, but for parents who really want to have that face to face instruction – Desantis wants them to have options for that. 

A few local coaches also spoke on behalf of sports in schools:

“Being a student athlete definitely taught me a lot about teamwork, how to relate to one another, and discipline […] -this is what we need for you guys to do, and to be able to hold them accountable,” said one local coach. 

He says that, virtually, one of the toughest things is having trouble with being able to hold kids accountable for their actions. He believes that if we have student athletes with them, there is some form of accountability.

Another local coach says that sports is and will continue to be a key pivotal part of our community growth, of our country’s growth, and us as individuals. “I look at the kids in our communities today and we all are affected in different ways. […] We would definitely be stunting some of our less privileged students’ growth in that aspect – we all know how important sports are to getting to the next level of education for a lot of us, and a lot of our communities.”

Lastly,  Kyler Hall, Head Coach of Suwannee High School, says “We need the kids, and the kids need us – That is a fact. We need to be able to have conversations face to face. I’ve done more Zoom meetings than I ever want to do again – I can’t Zoom anymore.”

Mayor Lenny Curry claims that, during the pandemic, teens often stay up to about 3a.m. or 4a.m. in the morning while their parents are asleep- and that sleep schedules and other structures are all messed up. He explained how his son, in the 10th grade, has been in football camps this summer and now his discipline on sleep and habits have gotten back to normal. “The things that he [high school football coach] taught me, the way that he rode me, the way that he treated me when I was down – I applied all of those skills to my academics in college and continue to apply those skills today to goal-setting and getting things done,” said Curry. 

“Understanding discipline, understanding hard work, and the mentorship that you get from coaches is really really important to the development of our young people. […] I’m standing with our coaches and our athletes, we need to have them back,” said desantis.

“Let’s give the fans what they want.”

Watch the full panel discussion here.


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