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athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: Football guidelines a breeze compared to band

Dear Athletic Support:
I’m a Band Mom. I know this is a “sports” column, but I have to say something. The state-mandated regulations for band are ten times stricter than the ones for the football teams! Why does my son have to wear a mask with a special flap for his trombone mouthpiece — not to mention keeping nine feet away from his bandmates — while all the jocks are down there on the field tackling each other! Don’t football players breathe heavily when they’re running? Don’t they spit and slobber? Don’t quarterbacks usually shout the snap count? How is any of this okay? My son will adhere to all the state-mandated regulations, but the disparity between the band and football guidelines is simply unfair.

— Band Mom

Dear Band Mom: The age-old rivalry rears its ugly head yet again: football versus band. Back before COVID, the bleachers were the main battleground for this inevitable conflict. Band parents complained about people leaving during halftime and “missing the show.” Football parents whined about band parents leaving after halftime and not supporting the home team down the stretch.

And now here we are, in the midst of a national pandemic, and the question has become which group has it worse in regard to masks and social distancing.

Regardless of the timeframe, one thing you have to remember is that we’re all on the same team. The football players benefit from the band. The band members benefit from the football team.

And don’t forget, the coaches and the players weren’t the ones who came up with the guidelines. They’re simply playing by the rules that were given to them. Try to remember this as you move forward into what will already be a tumultuous season.

Dear Athletic Support: My son plays school-sanctioned sports. I’m not going to reveal which sport because what I’m about to say could upset some other parents. The truth is, so many parents aren’t adhering to the guidelines regarding COVID, social distancing, and masks. I see it every day when I pick my son up from practice. And the worst part? The kids are following their lead! I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve had come to my house not wearing a mask. This situation is creating a divide between me and the other parents. It’s gotten so bad, I’m limiting which kids my son can go around. I’m trying hard not to judge, but this COVID stuff is serious. I’m sick of feeling like I’m the only one playing by the rules.

— COVID Referee

Dear Referee: You can’t control other people. This pandemic has made that painstakingly clear. And as the old saying goes, “The only person in charge of your happiness is YOU!”

With that being said, I think you have every right to be wary of other families who aren’t following the guidelines. Keep your distance, but refrain from judging them.

In the end, judgment will only cost you valuable mental energy, and there are plenty of other, more important things to worry about these days.

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Previous Athletic Support Columns:

What to do if your season stalls
Left behind
Travel ball leads to constipation
Collegiate sports for fun or money?
No right answer
Sunburns not part of the game
Summertime soreness
Vulnerability is key in uncertain times
Sick of COVID-19
Racial tensions rise as sports gear up again
Silver lining for post pandemic sports
Wearing masks to practice
Coach disappears after season is cancelled
What happens to the team if a player gets COVID-19?
Will there be football in the fall?
With sports gone, son’s grades tanking
Lost without sports
Teddy bears and tessellations
Cornavirus? We’ve got games to play!
Girlfriend getting in the way
A parent’s role when sports are over
Talk to your grandkids, carefully
At what age should sports stop being fun?
What ever happened to going door to door?
Lack of respect for track
Should my son take supplements?
I need your help
Help! My daughter wants to play football
Transferring to a smaller school: the good, the bad, and the ugly
What’s that smell? It’s not as bad as you think
A break from school but not from sports
Should a coach pray with his team?
Coach tells player not to shoot
Do nice guys (and girls) really finish last?
Coach cancels post-season awards banquet
No cellphones in the locker room!
Fake scholarship signing?
Withholding football as punishment
Sick and tired of losing
Late bloomer, a blessing or a curse?
Scholarship hopes dead, now what?
Is my son a butterfly chaser?
Don’t force sports on your kids
Hunting or Football?
Beat the Heat
Idle Hands
Coach’s son gets special attention

Published July 12, 2020

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