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'Let Them Play': Dozens rally in Anne Arundel County for the return of high school sports

Posted at 11:00 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 07:24:07-04

Dozens of Anne Arundel County parents and players attended a rally in Severna Park to advocate for the return of high school sports this month.

Aiden Mileski, who is a member of the Severna Park football team, was among many players who represented different schools in the county in an attempt to sway school leadership to allow them to play.

“[Sports] gives people a lot team spirit and energy," he said. “I know it’s important with the virus and everything we can’t just jump back into it too quickly, but I think it’s really important we do get back to it in a safe and effective manner.”

Signs of "Let Them Play" were seen throughout the crowds of frustrated parents and players who believe it's unfair high school sports aren't allowed to resume, while other leagues are currently playing.

"I drive by Severna Park high school on a Friday night and I see little kids playing rec football and it's tackle. What is the difference between them playing and our high school," said Liberty Smack, who is Aiden's mother.

Former Governor Robert Ehrlich helped organize the rally, which was held at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Department Co. Ehrlich, whose son is the quarterback for Broadneck High School, said the kids should get an opportunity to get back to as close to normal as possible.

“If it’s impractical to have the schools full, we get that. We are still in a pandemic," he said. "On the other hand, if everyone else is playing sports...why not on that step back to normalcy; why not include athletics."

"It’s not just sports," he added. "It’s the cheerleaders. It’s the bands."

In a news conference last month, Governor Larry Hogan and state superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon said high school sports could return as soon as Wednesday. However, the state still left it up to local school districts to decide what to do moving forward.

Ehrlich said Maryland is one of a half dozen states that have yet to resume fall sports.

"It's safe enough for the 13-year-olds to play. It's safe enough for everyone else to play. The health concerns not even been raised. The issue that's been raised is logistics, transportation. My answer is: get it done," Ehrlich said.

WMAR-2 News reached out to Anne Arundel County Public Schools on resuming high school sports. A spokesperson said the board of education will discuss the options at its meeting on Tuesday.

Part of Tuesday's meeting will be open to the public. Anyone who wishes to listen can either watch via live stream by clicking here or calling 425-436-6365 and entering access code 6084054 followed by the pound/hashtag symbol.