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Sports mean the world to student-athletes

I am 17 and a student-athlete at Cibola High School. I grew up playing soccer, and it is one of my biggest passions. As anyone knows who has participated in sports, high school sports and club sports present different thrills. Representing school and community is an experience one always remembers and looks forward to. I started on varsity my freshman year and dreamed about my senior year and the year I would be a team captain, leader and role model. When the governor sent her mandate that football and soccer wouldn’t happen this fall, it not only broke my heart, but many other players’ hearts as well. I’m sure she didn’t take pleasure in informing the state; however, I question whether she considered what will happen because of that choice.

Playing sports is just as good for the mind as it is for the body. Many kids struggle at home, school and around their friends, but when they step on the pitch they can let go. I know personally when I’m angry or sad, playing soccer helps me relax and feel at ease. Kids can go to their teammates and coaches and feel safe in that environment. My best friends growing up were always on my soccer team; they had my back, and nothing was better than competing in a high-level environment with girls that not only wanted to play soccer but to do well in school. Has the governor considered what damage this is doing to teenagers’ minds? What are we supposed to turn to when we don’t have our go-to stress relief for life? How are we supposed to feel safe if our one place to feel safe isn’t there anymore?

To play high school sports you need to keep your grades up. I know that some kids only kept their grades up because that was the only way they could play and participate in the sport they love. Now that we don’t have that level of expectation, how does the governor expect us to keep up in school? When coaches are some of the only people to look at our grades, who is going to keep us in line? New Mexico is last when it comes to education. When Michelle Lujan Grisham ran for governor she said that public education was a top concern. That doesn’t just mean implementing new testing systems; it means working toward a decrease in dropouts and helping us kids stay focused. Taking sports away will only encourage teenagers to slack off in school. If nobody is watching grades, what motivation is there to keep them up?

It’s important that past all this, high schoolers have the option to go to college if that is their goal. Many football players and soccer players rely on scholarships to even get into college, let alone help them out with the expenses. By robbing athletes of their season, the governor is robbing them of their future. It’s simply not fair. Does she know she is keeping the positive influences away from us when we need them the most? So, we can’t go to school like normal, we can’t hang out with our friends in large groups, and we can’t play the sport we love. What do we turn to now?

It’s easy to say we are student-athletes and know better than to turn to drugs or alcohol, but let’s not be ignorant. You know as well as I do that they’re out there. As horrible as it sounds, kids that wouldn’t normally be getting high during the season or at all don’t have a very good reason to stop. In fact, what is there to say that multiple teens in a time of stress, depression and anxiety won’t start abusing drugs? The future of our generation and the state is in the governor’s hands.

I know the governor made her decision about the safety of New Mexico. However, did she consider all of this? … How would she feel if it was all taken away from her? We would do anything if it meant we could step out on the field and play. It can happen safely. …

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