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West Coast Preps spoke with four Amador Valley players about the #LetUsPlay campaign and their involvement in returning to the field of play in a safe manner.
Those who joined the conversation included Amador Valley junior tight end/linebacker/running back Kai Burgermeister, senior quarterback and infielder Brendan O’Sullivan, senior linebacker/fullback Spencer Oxe (Puget Sound commit) and senior tight end/linebacker Spencer Scranton (offers from Lewis & Clark and Whittier).
Part No. 1 of this conversation was posted Friday and Part No. 2 was posted Saturday.
What do you say to people who say this isn’t safe?
Kai Burgermeister: “I say just look at the other states that have done it. Look at the effect on kids futures, on kids mental health. It’s to an outsider it’s hard to tell how important sports really are for student-athletes, but it really is just such a huge issue, such a big community issue. A lot of towns, the community rallies around high school football. I think anyone who says that just doesn’t realize the importance of sports for us and all the kids at the school.”
Brendan O’Sullivan: “I kind of look at it, and I don;t know a ton of people saying we shouldn’t play. I think they’re maybe saying right now it’s not the best time. I think a lot of people want us to play and know it’s important, and they understand what sports are, and I just think if it comes to a time where people are like, ‘Oh, I don’t think you should play,’ I think they need to maybe check the facts a little bit and maybe consider what we’re going through at the same time.”
Spencer Oxe: “And a lot of these people who are maybe would say we shouldn’t play probably have kids who are in school right now. They’re on the computer. A lot of those kids probably do out of school activities or linked to club sports, whatever. Even they’re suffering not being able to go to their club meetings or extracurriculars. It’s taking a toll on everybody the fact that we have to sit on the computer all day and just go along with our lives, not being able to have any escape, just being stuck in this little what almost feels like a box and just having to wait out the storm that just feels like it continuously rolls on.”
Spencer Scranton: “I think that the mental health of teenage people is a very big problem, and it has been becoming a very big problem the past couple years. Teen suicide rate is up really high right now, and that’s kind of scary being a kid and seeing that that there’s a lot of kids out there that they don’t have anything to do and they don’t have anything better to do than. It’s really a terrible scenario. There’s people I’ve known that have decided they don’t want to live anymore. It’s really sad, so one of the main things that I’m pushing for is try to get kids to socialize as soon as possible, try to get things moving for the younger generation as soon as possible.”
Does this message getting big on social media give you guys more hope for a season to come about?
Brendan O’Sullivan: “I just think the majority, when more people do it, the more likely the higher ups are going to see it. And I’m with Kai. Kai said like the CIF keeps putting it back, and I think that’s a good sign because they could have easily canceled it. I know the Division II they canceled their spring sports in college, and they could easily do that, but they’re not, they don’t want to. They want to give us a season. They want to let us get out and be active with our peers. I think the more people who post and get involved in this will really propel it forward to where it gets the message across.”
Kai Burgermeister: “Just — to see everyone’s tweets blowing up like that. That support really means a lot to us because as we’ve been talking about sports are so important to all of us, and just seeing how many people agree with us and support our message, they’re willing to share it further. Just the more that can happen I just think that;s great.”
Spencer Oxe: “Just like Kai was saying the more people who talk about it, the more people who post about it, the more likely it’s going to be noticed by the people who can make the decisions. Of course it comes down to them making the decisions, but hopefully if enough of us pitch our voices in we can influence what they’re going to say about it.”
Spencer Scranton: “At this point we’re really satisfied with the responses that we’ve gotten. We’ve had a huge, huge support behind us during this. It’s been a really big help.”
What are the next steps for you guys in this movement?
Brendan O’Sullivan: “I think just get more teammates, more kids involved. I think it only goes so much to post something on Twitter, but I think just if we can continue to get more kids involved, more adults involved, more people, higher up people involved in government involved, I think that’s just going to be the way to propel us to get a season.”
Kai Burgermeister: “And I mean stuff like this too. I really appreciate you guys having us on here. I know you guys support this message too. Just stuff like this. Social media is so powerful these days. A message like this can spread really far, and like Brendan was saying the more it gets spread, the more likely it is that it gets to who it needs to get to.”
Spencer Oxe: “And stuff like this is our next step. We want to keep getting more and more influence, with people writing articles about it, people just more important people, verified accounts, stuff like that. The more people we get talking about it and the more views and outlook people seeing on this, hopefully the more likely people will start to notice that this is something that everybody wants, not just the minority. And a difference will happen.”
Spencer Scranton: “This message is powerful, and we’re not going to stop talking about it until we get to play. We’re going to talk about it everywhere. It doesn’t matter where we are, you’re going to hear me talking about how we should be playing football right now.”
Kai Burgermeister: “And I just wanted to mention, that reminds me today our school’s newspaper editor Dm’d me on Instagram and was asking about it. I don’t even know how he found out about it, but that just shows that our message is being heard and being spread, and that made me feel really good about what we’re doing with this.”
How do sports help with a person’s future and their careers? And what life lessons have they taught you?
Spencer Oxe: “Sports for me have fulfilled me, I mean totally changed my life. Coming into high school, I felt like I was like I’m a different person than what I was four years ago. Going through football and even baseball just kind of helped me become more social. I feel like I got more confident, can talk to everybody more often. I don’t feel kind of trapped if you know what I mean. I’ve played on all these football teams with all these guys, and you have to get to know everybody, and you know everybody has your back, so you have to have theirs. And it becomes kind of a family, and that family you kind of go along with for every year through high school, and then we finally get to this varsity level senior year it’s kind of like you feel like, ‘Okay, this is my team now. I’m stepping up. This is my family. I’m kind of the head now.’ I have to teach these guys, lead these guys. These are my guys. I have to be the guy now, the guy everyone respects. Lead these guys to championship. That’s what everybody wants, but we just want to win. We want to play, but if we don’t get to play, we don’t get that. Like if I never had football I never would have to talk to everybody. I’d probably be introverted, just a different person. I feel so much better than I feel like I ever would have if I never stepped on that field freshman year.”
Kai Burgermeister: “Kind of like what oxe is saying. Sports are so inclusive. There might be shy kid, scared to make friends, but we’ll take anyone here on the football team. If you want to play, we’ve got pads and a helmet for you. Come out here. Let’s play. You see a teammate around school like, ‘Hey, what’s up man?’ Dap him up. Like he was saying, it’s a family, and that inclusiveness I think just really helps. It brings the community together. It brings the school together, and just if there’s some kids, like if they never have that opportunity, that’s how they make their friends. All my good friends are guys that I met playing football. It’s just the importance can’t be truly expressed.”
Brendan O’Sullivan: “The relationships you make in sports is just, they’re unmatched. Some of my greatest buddies are guys I grew up playing sports with, and it’s just like those relationships last a long time. And you see that with people like adults, and they’re still friends with the guys they played football with. Other than football though, sports in general they just allow you to learn good life lessons. Learn how to shake a hand maybe, learn how to talk to adults. Hard work pays off. That’s a real thing. People talk about it, but it shows in sports and stuff like that. Sports just propel your social life. I mean just life in general.”
Spencer Scranton: “Football has taught me a lot about discipline as well as all the other things that these guys have been talking about. The main thing about learning discipline through football is that if you’re not doing something right or if you’re not helping the team when you’re at practice, you’re going to pay for it and you’re going to have to run and it’s going to make you think about your choices and think about what you can do better next time. And sometimes if your parents want you to do something, like if you’re acting out, they can’t make you run laps. You’re just going to keep resisting. When it’s a coach coming in and helping your life, it’s truly amazing.”
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