March 1, 2021 – The first team practice of the 2020-2021 football season. The first time our coaches and players have been on the field together in 480 days.
March of 2020, our players were pulled out of school and all athletics were cancelled. Everything they knew had been turned upside down. Students had to adapt to this new virtual school, with many hiccups along the way, and so many unknowns.
Over the summer our athletes stepped up. We saw new leaders rise up, coordinating player-led practices, hosting and participating in 7 on 7 games with other clubs. Through it all, they missed out on team camps and back to school 2-a-days and all that had been their ‘normal’.
School started, just how it ended. Virtually, with no answer to ‘when can we have a season’.
As the energy and need for sports continued to grow there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The state of WA loosened restrictions to allow for a season.
And then, for reasons unclear to many, the Kent School District immediately just said ‘no’.
But again, maybe not surprisingly now, our athletes stepped up. This time outside of comfort zones. A student-led #letthemplayksd rally was held. Our players contacted the police, meeting with them to get permits and permission to gather for their protest. They found themselves doing interviews on camera with news stations, probably a first for any of them, even rising in the wee hours of the morning for a national show. Student-athletes and parents took to social media to display their frustration.
KSD backtracked and allowed athletes a season along with 2 weeks of conditioning. Again. Our players stepped up. For an additional 2 weeks they hosted critical player-led conditioning so they wouldn’t be found not prepared on the gridiron.
All of our athletes had to quickly learn how to become self-motivated like never before. With no coaches telling them something was mandatory, and with no certain reward of game time for the extra work on the field, they kept going.
For many, the reward of playing in a game motivated them in the “classroom”, so they stepped up and continued to work hard in their studies.
Our boys did this because they love being a part of something bigger. A team. A family.
For this I am proud of our boys and glad we are a part of the Falcon Family. To all of you student-athletes who didn’t give up and continued to push yourself, it has not gone unnoticed. We see you! We respect you. We hope you never forget what YOU did to meet a goal and make something happen.
A coach on Twitter said, ‘Your Initial Ranking has nothing to do with where your Work Ethic may take you’. I think that is appropriate here.