Players from dozens of high school football teams throughout Connecticut gathered at the state Capitol in Hartford on Wednesday to demand that lawmakers allow them to play out their seasons, despite coronavirus outbreak restrictions issued by the local officials.
“It was very empowering to see a whole bunch of different towns come together for a cause,” Danbury captain Nick Smith told The Stamford Advocate. “We have our opponents here, rivals on the field, but we’re all friends now, all fighting for the season we want to have.”
Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted on Wednesday that he will be calling for a meeting between the Department of Public Health and Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, to be held on Friday, for a discussion on how school sports might be able to continue as originally planned.
“We have an obligation to all of our students, faculty, staff, and administrators to keep them safe, and I expect that goal to be the focus of the discussion,” Lamont, a Democrat, said on social media.
The CIAC announced on Friday that it would not be having a football season this coming fall.
Haddam-Killingworth senior Daniel LaRosa told The Advocate his teammate Kevin Cavrell texted him about starting a petition to save their season and it took off from there.
“We expected maybe 500, 1,000 signatures if we were lucky,” LaRosa said. “It blows up: We got 33,000.”
“By Sunday night, it was huge. We had 30 schools in on it. It was everywhere,” he added. “We probably haven’t slept in two days.”
People in attendance held up signs during the event which read: “Flag on the Call: Let Them Play Ball,” and “Don’t Bench Our Season.”
“Basically today we want to get our season back. We want to play, the fall, the spring, whenever we can play, we want to get out there,” East Haven senior Trey Garea said. “It’s our senior season. COVID, we’ve got some of the lowest rates in the country.”
“I think we deserve it,” he added. “We’re following the guidelines. The CIAC’s got a great plan set forth for us.”
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