Rallying for a Season: Waterford Football and the CIAC


Lillie Abramowicz, Reporter

In fall 2019, Connecticut’s football season was nearly robbed by killer mosquitoes, preventing any sports from playing after dusk for months. Fall 2020, the season has been cancelled due to a global pandemic.  It was ruled by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) that all football teams are at high risk, due to full contact, and the sport cannot be played this fall. This caused an immediate uproar from players, parents, students, and other spectators who look forward to the Friday night lights.

Many football players took to social media to voice their opinions on the topic. A mass protest was held at Connecticut’s State Capitol in Hartford only a few days after the announcement in early September. Over 2,000 players, coaches, and spectators joined together and peacefully rallied in hopes of influencing the state to let football continue their scheduled seasons. “I attended the protest. It seemed pretty influential and I thought it would make us have a season.” says senior, Quincy Foren. Those who attended the protest were expected to wear facial coverings to protect the health of others and themselves. “It was really meaningful,” says another senior, Jackson Harshberger “everyone explained what football (meant) to them and how it affects our lives and makes it the people we are today”. 

Plans to pursue football after high school are now even more difficult than before. There are players who depended on the fall 2020 season to help prove themselves one last time before a majority of college applications are due in the winter, which goes for both juniors and seniors specifically. Senior Captains Jackson Harshberger and Sam Menders plan on pursuing football for four more years beyond high school, 

Outsiders speculated that this rally was pointless and unsafe, which is almost never the case. No one sees as much hard work and effort these players put into their game as any other sport. Per the CIAC, their announcement stating that fall Football would be cancelled for the season, it was stated from CIAC and DPH officials that Football was too much close-contact that posed “high-risk” factors; the idea of pursuing a season now was unlikely and unsafe. Football teaches you discipline and confidence for yourself,” says Harshberger “(it’s) hustle and respect for our teams saying because we focus on those traits every day during practice… it trains us mentally and physically to be able to adapt to any problem that crosses your path in life”. 

It was recently announced in late September that football players would be awarded a “second semester alternative season” from the CIAC, where players now plan on starting their season in early spring starting March 19th. It was then decided that football players would be awarded a ‘modified’ fall season in addition to the spring with a 7 vs. 7 tackle league which is played similar to flag football. Luckily, the CIAC was able to come up with different alterations for football players to make it fair for everyone and keep players, peers, and family members safe during this trying time.