Cheering from the stands

Kate Ward, Takeover Opinions Editor

The ban on fans at winter sporting events through Jan. 28, was just lifted as of Dec.10 by the Kansas State High School Activities Association due to backlash just two weeks after imposing the ban. Student athletes will be allowed to have two parents or guardians attend their sporting events at least until the end of January when they’ll address the issue of fans again. 

MHS’ student athletes were excited about the reversal of the ban, including Varsity girls basketball player Gillian Awbrey — who was originally disappointed in the ban.

“We were disappointed because it’s definitely fun having our parents being able to watch us in person. So, it’s kind of a bummer to not have them there,” Awbrey said. “I think it’ll be good to have people there and it’ll bring some energy to the gym. I am just excited to have my parents and family be able to watch me in person rather than online.”

While many of the MHS student athletes were excited by this change in policy, some are a bit more hesitant, like freshman wrestler AJ Hoffman.

“I’m personally excited, but I don’t know if it’s the best decision because there’s already a lot of people there regularly at wrestling tournaments… and other winter sports like basketball games are already going to be a lot of people there,” Hoffman said. “So I don’t know if it’s the best decision, but I do know that I’m pretty excited about it because I can have people come and watch me wrestle. And so that’s going to be fun.”

Some student athletes, like swimmer Jacob Choi, didn’t disagree with KSHSAA’s original decision to ban fans to begin with.

“I didn’t really mind. I thought it was a smart decision. With COVID-19 going around and spiking cases… I think it was a good decision.” Choi said. “And I know that a lot of people weren’t too happy, especially parents, with the decision. But, you have to do what you have to do to keep everyone safe.”

It’s still up to the school district to choose how they will manage who may or may not be allowed to attend events, and how limited attendance will be.

Despite the mixed opinions on the original ban — and now the reversal — most student athletes seem to have a positive view on the new policy.

“I think that it’s good that they realized that they can still move forward with having people there while being safe at the same time,” Awbrey said. “I think they realized that they could still continue to have people come, but have restrictions to keep everyone healthy in the gym.”