Families call for return of fall sports during ‘Let Us Play’ protest

Local Sports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Families are sounding off on Friday against the governor’s announcement that she is sticking to her decision to postpone all fall youth sports in the state. Families held a march around Albuquerque Academy in protest.

Hundreds of parents and students took part in the protest to share their voice and plead with the governor to let them play sports this fall. With signs, school banners, and dressed in their school gear, families from public and private schools across the state, including Belen, Albuquerque, and Socorro, showed up.

“I was extremely disappointed, really sad. Kind of just sat on my chair for a few minutes and tried to think I don’t really know what we’re going to do from here. It’s that hopeless feeling that you never really want to feel,” Brian Armijo, senior student athlete at Albuquerque Academy, said.

“It’s just disappointing seeing the other states, the athletes having the opportunity to run their best times and we can’t do that in New Mexico,” Joaquin Deprez, senior student athlete at Albuquerque Academy, said.

They are urging the governor to let fall sports happen now with volleyball, cross country, and golf being just some of the sports impacted. Parents KRQE News 13 spoke to say the ban on youth sports is “unfair” and argue their kids can play sports safely.

“I mean the kids are going to the gym, they’re going to church, they’re going to youth group, none of them are getting sick,” said parent Michelle Jenson. Other student athlete parents said this decision impacts their students’ future opportunities.

“Junior track is usually the year when colleges start looking at athletes in track and field and cross country. Well that was stripped of them last spring. So, we were hoping this fall, to have a season so he could start recording times for colleges,” parent Annette Armijo said.

While competitive sports and travel are banned, non-contact practices with fewer than 10 players in masks are allowed. Many families say if nothing changes they’ll be forced to travel to other states to play on club teams. Everyone seen at the protest was wearing a mask. In response to the protest, a spokesperson with the governor’s office provided this response:

“The state of New Mexico recognizes the importance of youth activities and how meaningful sports and after-school programs are for students and student-athletes statewide. The pandemic, and the state’s worsening health conditions, unfortunately preclude a lot of what we all want to do right now. The best way to protect ourselves, our communities and our state continues to be staying home to the greatest extent possible, limiting our travel outside of the home to only those trips that are absolutely essential, and wearing a mask at all times in public.”

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