This is devastating news to anyone who knows anything about high school sports:
It might not seem like a big drop — only 4 percent — but this is pretty significant considering how our country responded to the pandemic over the past couple years.
These kids were locked out of school for a year. When they were at practice they were wearing masks. They stood in social distanced circles on the basketball court. There were just so many reasons to quit the team — even if you were one of the better players.
And now the numbers are in:
The NFHS survey found that in 2018-2019, schools registered 7,937,491 kids in school sports. But by the end of the 2021-2022 season, that number had dropped to 7,618,054 participants, a loss of 319,437 kids.
All the top ten boys sports, but golf saw a loss of anywhere from 3 percent to as much as 14 percent down over the last pre-pandemic year. Football was down 3.2 percent, basketball 3.5 percent, wrestling down 6.3 percent, and cross country down the most at 14.1 percent fewer participants. Golf, though, was up 3.8 percent.
So just overall a sad development. And not all to be blamed on any particular school's response. We had some pretty crazy parents, don't forget, who probably pulled their kids from sports altogether.
One can only imagine what these 4 percent of kids are up to now.
"Idle hands are the devil's playthings," they say.
Hopefully this is just a slight hiccup, and now that Covid is over (according to the president) we can go back to normal when it comes to high school sports.
We need those 4 percent of kids on the team, and they need the camaraderie. It's a great way to stay busy, and a wonderful way to learn how to succeed as a team — something that will undoubtedly prepare kids for life after high school.
So get back on the team, Jimmy!
And quiet down, Jimmy's mom, Covid's over!
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