My Pitch

Congrats, seniors

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 6/3/20

In the coming weeks, local seniors will be graduating from high school and setting their sights on college. Congratulations to all those graduating, but considering my job here as sports editor, I have to give a specific shout out to the

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My Pitch

Congrats, seniors

Posted

In the coming weeks, local seniors will be graduating from high school and setting their sights on college.

Congratulations to all those graduating, but considering my job here as sports editor, I have to give a specific shout out to the student-athletes.

I’ve said it before and I will always say it: There are few things as challenging as being a student-athlete in high school and college. School is a full-time job, it really is and I would debate any adult that argues that it is not.

For kids to have to attend school every day, complete their after-school work, then practice and compete in a sport, that is a lot to handle. Many of these kids also work part-time jobs in order to save for college, high school kids have a ton on their plate.

So for those student-athletes that are getting ready to cross the finish line, bravo on making it through while demonstrating fantastic commitment to yourself, your school, and your team.

I do feel a bit sorry this year obviously, as many kids were unable to finish their athletic careers due to the pandemic canceling the spring season and end of the winter. Especially to those kids whose primary sports are in the spring, it is a big blow to not be able to have one more go around, even more so for the kids that will not be competing at the next level.

Overall though, the country and Rhode Island community are resilient and have done great things to finish the year off with a bang and celebrate those accomplishments despite it all.

Congrats to all the senior student-athletes on earning your diploma and being able to call yourselves student-athletes.

The next thing that I want to touch on is the death of George Floyd and the impact on the sports world.

Of course, the situation reaches far beyond the sports world … it is becoming an international story, but I will try to approach this from a sports angle.

First and foremost, I feel terrible for Floyd and his family. It’s tough to stomach the video when watching it and it will forever be a symbol of police brutality and wrongdoing. It’s horrible, disgusting, disturbing, every negative word that you can think of.

As a white male, I have never had to experience anything like that nor have I ever even had to worry about facing something like that. Never have I had to worry about my family going through that either. In short, I have never felt unsafe being who I am. For that reason, I am not going to try to relate, it’s impossible. And for those millions of people that somehow, in the year 2020, still have to go through that every day, they deserve better. They deserve to be protected, especially by those being paid to do so. The fact that I even have to say that is terrifying.

Since the incident, the world has exploded. There have been protests and riots in most major cities. With those demonstrations have come violence, destruction and an outcry for change.

Many professional athletes have come out to voice their support whether it be in person or on social media, which I think is very important.

Although it is discouraging to see these types of issues persist after centuries of struggle, we have to stick together and continue to fight. It doesn’t matter if you are a minority or not, we are all human beings living on the same earth, and we all have to stand up for one another and recognize when something is not right.

So, to those pro athletes that have the big stage, that have the spotlight, thank you for speaking up and giving a voice to the voiceless. For all of us here locally that do not share that same platform, let’s do whatever we need to do to fight for change here.

It does make me think back to the Colin Kaepernick controversy from a few years back, the kneeling during the national anthem.

At the time, some people were outraged and viewed his actions as a disrespect to the country. Others, though, felt that it was a powerful statement in the fight for civil rights.

Not to be a fence sitter, but at the time, I did see it both ways. On the one hand, if I was a veteran for example or had a family member die serving our country, I probably would have taken offense to his actions. People fight and die for that flag every day.

On the other hand though, his protest was totally non-violent, and he was acting totally within his rights. His protest was a much more peaceful one than others.

Now, in hindsight, maybe the government, the NFL and those at the top should have paid closer attention, even if they didn’t agree, maybe they should have considered the large population that was on board.

Unfortunately, race issues such as this are going to continue to exist, and there will probably be other violence incidents in the future. It’s scary and sad, but the terrible reality.

It is up to all Americans, from little Rhody all the way to DC, to fight for the change. To professional athletes, celebrities, lawmakers, continue to speak up and speak out.

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