State tournaments should be allowed

The+Knightettes+reminisce+on+medaling+at+last+year%27s+state+tournament+and+grieve+that+they+might+not+have+the+chance+to+do+so+again+this+year.

Photo Courtesy of Lahzeh Photography

The Knightettes reminisce on medaling at last year’s state tournament and grieve that they might not have the chance to do so again this year.

Lauren Hawkinson, Staff Writer

This fall, high school teams were granted the opportunity to play despite the previous assumptions that no fall sports would be allowed due to COVID-19. Sports swiftly began, upon receiving the okay from the MSHSL, giving seniors their final season and last chance to play with their teammates. Of course, playing sports during a pandemic has required the MSHSL to create new rules and regulations, the most disappointing of which is the elimination of state tournaments for fall sports.

Being a senior myself, this news has hit close to home. Whether or not teams play in the same location for the state tournament, they still deserve a chance to compete for what they have worked for all season long.

As a member of the dance team, I can speak on behalf of my teammates that state is the best part of our season. We have the opportunity to dance at the Target Center underneath all the bright lights and surrounded by all the supportive and cheerful BSMDT fans. Stepping on the floor, we have a chance to prove ourselves as a hard-working team. It is during that time where we reflect on everything that has prepared us for that moment. Without state, you start asking yourself, “What did we work this whole season for?”

The MSHSL realizes how much canceling state tournaments is affecting sports teams, and the cancellations have spawned troubles of their own to deal with. Due to previous cancellations of the 2020 state basketball tournament and spring sports, the revenue of the MSHSL has increasingly dropped. They are very much aware that if this trend continues they will continue to face larger deficits, especially approaching the winter season where the state hockey tournament is the biggest revenue-generating activity for Minnesota. While this is an important issue to address, I think that there can and should be other alternatives to the tournament.

In response, sports programs, coaches, parents, and others are willing to go the extra mile to make these state tournaments happen. Coach Katie Aafedt from the Edina soccer team has issued a proposal to have high school soccer teams play around the metro. As usual, the winning teams from Class A and AA would be crowned as state champions. Unfortunately, the MSHSL has turned down these alternatives.

Many teams are on board with Aafedt’s proposal for a replacement state tournament. There would be income from these tournaments which the MSHSL needs. In addition, the COVID rules would be enforced as they have all season. I believe that allowing for a modified state tournament is a modest request after what everyone has been put through during these unprecedented times. I don’t see where these tournaments could go wrong because they would both help the MSHSL, the players, and abide by COVID regulations, but I also believe that we must leave it up to the MSHSL board members.

Though winter sports may have a different outcome for state tournaments than the fall sports have had, I’m hoping all my fellow seniors and their teammates will be granted the chance to go to state.