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CHRIS MOORE — The fate of fall sports could depend on spectators

High school football will kickoff locally Friday, but there will be a different look to all of the pageantry this year. Stadiums will be half-filled and attendees will be required to wear masks and maintain social distance.

While I understand that part of the high school football game day experience is the ability to celebrate Texas’s second religious day with neighbors and family, we must follow these rules if we want to keep this going and finish the season.

Last week, Port Neches-Groves, Nederland and Port Arthur Memorial released information regarding ticket sales and stadium capacity. All stadiums will be at 50 percent capacity and people with the school districts will be monitoring to make sure fans are following the protocols.

Earlier this month, administration with the Nederland Independent School District said they will place signs around the stadium to remind people of the new rules.

The rules follow the CDC’s risk mitigation guidelines.

For fans, the guidelines state:

“Fan and spectator areas including bleachers, stands, walkways, and other spectator areas should be at least six feet from team/group areas such as team benches or performance areas. Where distancing is not feasible, other methods should be utilized to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as face coverings, implementing engineered controls such as physical barriers, or other risk mitigation efforts the school deems appropriate.”

We are fortunate to be in a position to even have fall sports, let alone spectators. The prospect of a high school football season was in doubt as little as two months ago. Many other states are not allowing fall sports at all, including several colleges.

I am as happy as anyone to watch high school football. It brings a sense of normalcy in abnormal times. That being said, if we wish to continue to enjoy our pastime, we have to follow the rules.

We demand student athletes be accountable. We demand that they remain disciplined in the heat of the moment during the fourth quarter.

We are in the first quarter of the season and we all have to remember our assignments and as Bill Belichick says, “Do your job.”

Whether or not Southeast Texas’ return to extra-curricular activities was the right move remains to be seen. But, this year, cheering your team on means more than sporting the colors. Those colors should be on a mask.

If you want to cheer at the game, make sure you do so loud enough that the family that is maintaining social distance can hear you.

Chris Moore is sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.