HARTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — Friday and Saturday many football teams around metro Detroit will kick off their seasons.
For some it means excitement. For others it is bittersweet. Football will look a bit different than in past years.
There will be social distancing when possible, extra sanitizing of the equipment and temperature checks for players as teams work to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some regular players and coaches are sitting out due to health concerns.
“Even under their helmets, everyone has to wear a mask now. Everyone has to wear gloves during practice,” said Terrence Moore, a freshman and a kicker on the Detroit Martin Luther King Jr. High School Football Team.
Moore says he is just happy to play.
“I have been playing since I was 6-years-old. I watch it every Saturday with my dad, college football. It means everything,” he said.
“God put me on this earth for a reason and I definitely want to serve these student-athletes. That is why I am here,” said Tyrone Spencer, Detroit Martin Luther King Junior High School Football Coach.
Spencer says he is proud to through football provide character-building mentorship. As a dad of two young boys, he is also nervous.
“I do have a four-month-old at home. That is something I think about all the time,” said the coach who is also a teacher.
He says he will miss thousands of fans cheering the team, especially when the team takes on its rival Cass Tech. The Michigan High School Athletic Association says in parts of the state in Phase 4, like metro Detroit, only two spectators per athlete or participant are allowed.
“Usually at a King-Cass game, it is five thousand people. Now it is only two people per student-athlete,” he said Spencer.
Crowds won’t be the only thing missing.
Pom, dance, marching band, and other related performance groups are not allowed to participate at football games, leaving many disappointed. Some schools are finding new ways to include them in a different way.
At Hartland High School Marching band members say they are planning a virtual performance for social media, but will not be playing at football games.
Pom team members say they are preparing socially distanced routines, but at this point will not be able to share them during half time or the game.
“It is sad because it is all we had to look forward to over the summer,” said Ashley Kretz, who is on the Junior Varsity Pom Team and plays piccolo in the Hartland High School Marching Band.
“Hanging out with your section and all your friends in band,” said Jacob Bialowicz, a junior in the Hartland High Marching band about what he will miss.
“And the half time performances, nothing beats it,” added Hunter Kretz, a senior in the Hartland High School Marching Band.
“I would like Governor Whitmer to say, you know what, for the same reasons it is important for football and cheer to be active, it is the same for the children who do arts and perform,” said Angelina Kretz, a Hartland mom.
Kretz says she is happy with how the district is adjusting to continue to give children in the arts opportunities, but she says the state needs to make sure it doesn’t hold them back with unequal restrictions.
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