Local high school athletes still hope to get off the bench

Emily Putnam
Updated: January 17, 2021 11:22 PM
Created: January 17, 2021 11:15 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some Rochester-area high school athletes are hoping a new play will help get them off the COVID-19 bench. 

That play involves a push from a New York State Senator that is getting support from coaches who are looking around the country and saying that "It's time." 

Among the student-athletes who are hoping to take the field of play is Connor Williams, who plays football and basketball at Victor High School. 

"It's basically my life, I just want my life back, essentially," he says. "It's just who I am, and without it, it's just been a struggle mentally and just trying to stay positive." 

New York State Senator Pam Helming sent out a letter earlier this week to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to allow high-risk sports to start back up. It's something that coaches wholeheartedly agree with. 

"I'm saying as a coach.... why can't we do this?" says Bishop Kearney Head Coach Rick Gause. "Why can't we make it happen here? these kids deserve it."

Gause and other coaches note that New York is one of only three states that are not allowing high-risk events, and that the state should be able to reach out to those that are playing to find out how they are doing it.

Other coaches, such as Pittsford Mendon Girls Varsity Basketball's Todd Julien, say that the athletes would likely work extra-hard to stay safe, which could help lead to a curb in the spread of the virus. 

"There's not one kid in our program that's gonna let the team down by going to risky gatherings when they have something to play for," he says. 

As of now, however, football is currently scheduled to come back up on March 1, which may lead to a new challenge: season overlap. Because some seasons like football won't be happening when they normally would, the sports may end up competing for field and gym space at high schools, leading to creative scheduling.

It's a problem, however, that some athletes and coaches would love to have right now. 

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