Pierce High School Athletic Director Michael Barber said the “Let Them Play,” movement on Facebook increased by 25,000 members in just a week.
Barber said the movement is driven solely by parents and students in hopes of convincing state legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen high school athletics this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our student athletes are ready to get going,” Barber said. “The more the government hears what the kids really want it has to put something in the back of their mind.”
Barber said the parents’ voice is strong is Colusa County and it will be heard beginning at 4 p.m. Friday at LaVanche Hursch Park, located at 308 5th St., Arbuckle.
“It will be nice for the kids,” Barber said.
One of the event’s organizers, Pierce senior Katie Williams said she and many of her peers have been severely affected by the yearlong shutdown due to COVID-19.
Williams, a volleyball player at Pierce, said to not have any athletic contests or any Future Farmers of America (FFA) showings is devastating to the younger generation.
“It’s been hard to not be on a team and have somewhere to go after (school),” Williams said. “With FFA it totally helps with your future in making connections and meeting people from all over the country.”
Williams is an avid member of the Jr. Livestock Auction where future farmers show the beauty of an animal for showmanship and marketing purposes.
The goal of Friday’s rally, Williams said, is to show the state legislators what California’s students have been missing.
All COVID-19 protocols, including masks will be encouraged at the rally, not to mention a jersey or related garment showing off the person’s school colors.
Social distancing is also strongly encouraged, Williams junior varsity volleyball coach Cheri Azevedo said.
Azevedo said it is a statewide rally, with 83 communities currently participating.
“It is almost statewide, all the way down to San Diego,” Azevedo said. “It’s all happening the same day, same time. We’re (hoping) to light a fire under CIF.”
CIF, also known as the California Interscholastic Federation is the state governing body of high school athletics. Throughout the year there have been multiple delays regarding the start dates of prep sports.
Williams Athletic Director Dan McDonald said he will be supporting Friday’s rally from afar and is hoping for clearer guidance from the Northern Section’s Board of Directors following the teleconference meeting on Jan. 20.
“I am in support of a safe return of athletics at all of the high schools in the state of California,” McDonald said.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster for all the student-athletes.”