Letters to the Editor

(Marana, AZ)  We invite parents and Student/Athletes to write their concerns and complaints with viable solutions and problem solving ideas to our Editor.

Please feel comfortable about airing your opinions and we will not edit your letters or responses in accordance to our company policy of looking  at sports and issues through the eyes of the athletes and parents.


Thank you for giving us an opportunity to express how we feel about sports in the Tucson community.

Once again, parents and athletes in the community are worried about whether or not the rug is going to be pulled out from under them again due to a spike in cases in our community.  These kids had a season stalled by decision makers causing them to worry about whether or not they’d even have a season.  If decision makers had allowed our kids to play months ago, these kids would have been finishing their fall season by now, like most other high schools in this state.

Sports is VOLUNTARY.  Parents signed waivers exonerating the schools of any liability and understand the  small risk of covid.  The RISK of playing sports is far greater for some sports like football, as an example, of serious injuries, but it is our (parents) decision to make. There is no evidence of community spread of Covid within the sports community and there are ZERO high school aged hospital cases from any sports program in the state. Most of these kids who test positive have caught the virus outside of school and sports.

Our biggest fear is something Dr. Cara Crist (Arizona Department of Health Services) said recently. “More children and young adults have committed suicide this year than last in Arizona. Tragically, this year, we have already surpassed last year with the number of suicides in our children. For all of 2019, we had 38 suicides in children under the age of 17 years old. In 2020, we have already had 43 suicides in that same age group. It reminds us that this year has been extremely difficult for everyone.”

Furthermore…“the real issue is the fact that COVID is creating a situation where [students] can’t do what they would normally do with those feelings,” said Nikki Kontz, the Clinical Director of Teen Lifeline. “Say they play a sport; they can’t necessarily play it – that’s what else we found out today.”  The mental health of our kids should be on everyone’s mind and should be considered as leaders make decisions moving forward.

Even the CDC reports the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with, “mental health challenges related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease and to mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders. Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.”

With treatments for Covid and the fact that kids are not vulnerable when it comes to this virus, why are we penalizing them?  Please continue to let our children finish out their sports seasons.  Many are still working hard in order to secure scholarships.  The future of our children is on you, the Superintendents, Governing Board Members and the Pima County Health Department.  With a 99.9% survival rate, we need our leaders to move on and stop putting our children’s mental health at risk.


Valerie Fanelli, Parent of Ironwood Ridge Junior

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