The CDC Has Released Guidelines For Resuming Youth Sports––And We Will Be Opting Out This Year

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No, My Kids Won’t Be Playing Organized Sports This Summer
Scary Mommy and Rebecca Nelson/Getty

Our very short summer has arrived in Maine. After being cooped up for three months, my kids are dying to get out and see their friends just as much as every other child in the world right now.

My daughter would love to attend lacrosse camp, run around on that field with her friends and celebrate together with a team photo and cupcakes when it’s done. Like many other kids, they missed their season this year. And as a parent, I missed watching my child have the freedom to play in the sunshine — it’s the highlight of our spring.

They’ve started to ease restrictions where I live. The governor just announced that you can now get together in groups of 50 or less. Restaurants should be open for dine-in service in about two weeks, and yes, my kids are crawling the walls and I’d love to see them burn off some of that pent-up energy.

I know playing sports with the local Recreation Department would be great for my kids, and sending my son to the camp he loves to go to for two weeks would be good for his mind and body. But…

I don’t think we are ready for it, and keeping my kids “contained” and socially distanced as they play sports seems impossible to me, so my children won’t be participating.

My kids have always thought I was anxious and overprotective. And while I agree with them, and I know I could stand to lighten up a bit, this isn’t the time for me to turn over a new leaf. I need to know things are going to be safe for my kids and their friends.

Since there aren’t tests available for them to take before each gathering, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19 yet, and we still have much to learn about MIS-C , so I’m not willing to take the chance prematurely.

These are uncharted waters for everyone involved — the kids, coaches, volunteers, and the people who want to come and watch their kids play. We can’t forget how hard it would be to tell your three-year-old to stay right next to your side, keep a mask on their mouth and nose, and not allow them to go play with other kids. Keeping them off the playground is a whole other battle.

Dropping your child off, or watching them play from the car in hopes they don’t come in close contact with anyone who is infected, sounds stressful as hell.

Would it even be worth it?

Schools and businesses have been shut down for months for a reason, and having my kids rush into sports doesn’t feel safe to me this summer.

Since every state has a different number of cases, and their restrictions vary, it’s being left up to each one to proceed as they see fit about when to resume sports, according to the CDC guidelines for youth sports.


“Each community may need to make adjustments to meet its unique needs and circumstances, reports the CDC , adding that team-based practice and “[f]ull competition between teams from the same local geographic area increase the risk of catching, and spreading, COVID-19.”

That’s a lot of pressure to put on my–any children–children right now. Kids forget. They get excited and lost in the moment, which leads to hugging and touching. They want to give high-fives. They share water bottles and sports drinks. They all touch the same equipment.

The CDC also recommends wearing a face covering and that everyone keeps their distance while playing, as well as when they are off the field or court. This doesn’t sound remotely conducive to playing team sports. I can’t imagine any child being comfortable wearing a mask in the hot summer sun to play ball, or remembering to keep their distance from each other while on the sidelines.

We are asking them to completely re-program themselves and their interactions, and that’s a huge task.

Furthermore, the ball fields where there are places to wash your hands for the recommended amount of time are few and far between. And we can’t forget that if they are playing a sport inside, the risk of spreading it to each other is even greater than being outside.

I know I’d be a ball of nerves just thinking about the risk of spreading COVID-19 instead of enjoying the game, and I know many other parents who feel the same and say the risks are just too great right now. Especially those who feel an obligation to continue to flatten the curve for our high-risk populations and healthcare workers.

I can’t help but wonder if the kids would even enjoy themselves with the new set of rules they’d have to follow anyway. Especially kids like mine who get anxious and nervous in new situations anyway.

I don’t think that that sacrificing one summer to stay buttoned up and call off organized sports will affect our children in the long run. It’s not ideal, and it’s disappointing but, it’s a small price to pay to continue to flatten the curve of COVID-19. By next year, or possibly sooner, there will hopefully be a vaccine and things can start to really feel more ‘normal’ again.

But until then, I’m not going to trade my child having one good season (or day) on the field or court for a stay in the hospital, to be sick all summer, or to infect someone else.

For me, the risk is too great — and when things feel closer to normal, I will reconsider.

I believe youth sports are important and vital to our kids and communities. Right now, though, they’re just not as important as stopping the spread of COVID-19.

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