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“Let us play”: the plea of student athletes in La Crosse

Brad Williams

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This was supposed to be the opening weekend of football season for many area schools, before the coronavirus hit, but several high school sports in La Crosse have been postponed for the new year, with some possibly cancelled. 

Student athletes and some parents gathered outside Central High School on Thursday to demonstrate in favor of continuing sports. 

Drivers passing on Losey Boulevard honked their horns at the students who held up signs with messages such as “Let us play.”

Phil is the parent of a Central athlete, and he was disappointed when spring sports were called off.

“We were told that there would be an abbreviated season, that never happened,” he said. “Then the fall season was supposed to be started, and that got pushed back. We’re kind of concerned that the can’s kinda gettin’ kicked down the road.”  

Parents also say the school district isn’t showing support for young athletes in its approach to the new school year, which will start next week with at least a month of virtual classes. 

Logan High parent Patricia Nelson has a son who runs cross country, and she doesn’t like the idea of delaying that sport until winter or spring.

Nelson says the now-abandoned COVID compass with its color code of red, orange, yellow, and green for assessing the risk of infection helped lead to disruption of sports training.

She says coaches were allowed to meet with team members, when the compass was at orange. “When we went to red,” said Nelson,” the only thing that changed was that the coach couldn’t be there and take his temperature, so I’m asked to believe it’s safer for these same kids to be running practice without a coach and no temperature, than it would be with a coach and no temperature.”

Nelson says there has been some talk among parents about having contests with other schools outside the usual league structure.       

Under the original school calendar for this fall in La Crosse, both Central and Logan would have played football games on Thursday night.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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