The Commonwealth of Kentucky is allowing anybody who is 18 years old or younger on August 1st, 2021, to return to high school for a fifth year of eligibility in all sports, even if they have met the requirements to graduate.
I know it's Kentucky, but I don't get it from an academic standpoint. Sorry, that was some low-ass hanging fruit, but the last year of schooling has been a joke. I suppose most kids could use the extra work, but how is this actually gonna play out? Are they going to have a bunch of kids who should be in college or basic training taking ballroom dancing like Matt Leinart to play another season? Can you take college courses, or are they just treating high school like UNC?
Whether you wear two masks or none, all people have been affected by the pandemic one way or another. Yes, losing a summer in your 20's sucks, but it's incomparable to losing something that you can't get back, like the high school experience or your life.
As someone who was a key returner AND loss for a 1-7 football team that lost five of those games by one score, I can tell you I have spent YEARS thinking about what could've been if a few things went differently. How would that year have played out if our best coach wasn't suspended, one of our best players didn't break his collarbone ATVing like a selfish ass hole during double sessions, or if our QB didn't throw 94 interceptions when we had one of the best run-blocking o-lines in the state? Hell, the main reason I "chose" to major in education was so I could be a coach and chase the ring I never won. I still feel empty to this day that I never won a Rhode Island DIII football championship, so I can completely empathize with wanting another shot; I fucking loved high school.
But as I've gotten older, I've learned there's a lot more to life than high school sports and that you definitely should not base your entire future around them. There's more to life, I promise. I won't say that you get fully over them because anytime I drink more than three beers with someone I went to high school with, inevitably the glory days will come up, but over time you move on, and your priorities change. You learn how to get to a point where it's not the only thing you think about all hours of the day. Trust me.
The 29-year-old in me says, cut your losses and move on. I know that it fucking sucks you missed out, but you gotta move on and start your real life like the rest of us had to. Not to go full back in my day hardo because I wasn't even alive, but there were high schoolers faking they were 18 to go to WAR during WWI and WWII. It could've been worse.
Then the young soul in me feels horrible for the kids who are missing out on the key years and memory makers that are high school athletics. Going 1-7 fucking sucked and, in many ways, ruined a lot of my senior year, but at least I got to go 1-7. We played. These CHILDREN have already lived through a pandemic, 10,000 school shootings, and an attempted fascist uprising; maybe we should cut them some slack and let them take a few more hacks?
I just think this sort of does more harm than good. What about the younger athletes that now have to compete with someone who should be in college. I'm not saying it's a super big advantage, more so that it's taking away opportunities for actual high school athletes. They're almost getting more hurt by this in addition to the missed year they had to deal with.
If you have no chance at getting a scholarship or playing at the next level, what's really the point other than having a little fun? Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge proponent of fun, but do you really wanna be 19 years old sitting in physics when you should be learning how to use a beer bong if you didn't already in high school?
One part of me is like, "fuck it; it's a year", you can push back starting adulthood, then part of me is like bro/broette, just move on. What if you tear your ACL? Do you have to stay in high school?
Sorry to sit on both sides of the fence, but this just seems too complicated. I get the sentiment and feel like if I was in these kid's shoes, I'd want to come back, but my dad would force me to grow and up be miserable just like everybody else, LIKE A MAN. Unless you're a fringe scholarship athlete who has something serious to gain from another go at it, I feel like you gotta just move on. But again, I totally understand taking advantage of this situation if you can. What would you do ̶i̶f̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶s̶o̶n̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶h̶o̶m̶e̶?̶ if YOU had a chance at an extra year of high school sports?
Who the fuck is under 18 the August after they graduated high school?