Stone Bridge parent Holly Wiles has organized a march to demand high school sports
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
It happened quickly.
After seeing that Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer reversed course on high school football last week, Stone Bridge football mom Holly Wiles decided it was time to act.
Since Michigan announced that high school football would return to the Great Lakes State, Delaware has also announced that high school football would return. Michigan parents and other supporters held a rally at their state capitol on August 28. By September 3, Whitmer relented.
“I was reading about the Michigan rally and how they changed their governor’s mind. I got up, talked to my husband and son and I said, ‘I’m sick of this. We need to be playing all sports this fall, not just football. I’m going to start a rally.’ I put up a Facebook post five minutes later,” Holly explained.
Holly Wiles’ original Facebook post went viral, getting likes and shares all over Facebook. The viral nature of the post and flyer has spread the word across the state in a matter of days. Her son, Billy Wiles, is the Tulane-bound rising senior quarterback at Stone Bridge High School and his Twitter post had almost 100 shares by Sunday morning. The buzz across social media has been incredible.
“We have almost 4000 people who have signed the petition. Billy’s post has been seen almost 23,000 times,” Holly said.
The petition is at Change.org and can be accessed here.
The rally will take place on Monday, September 14 at the State Capitol building in Richmond, VA. The rally starts at Noon. Organizers are encouraging participants to wear green in support of the cause or wear their high school gear to support athletics and activities.
“We’ll have people directing people,” Wiles said. “This doesn’t just affect fall sports. This affects the entire year of sports. (Under the current plan,) seasons are going to be condensed. Football players aren’t going to be able to play baseball. It’s a big deal. These kids need their structure. They need their sport. A very big part of what got me going is that I know there are kids who deserve to play Division I football who won’t have an opportunity to be seen because we won’t have a football season. Those kids might not go to college.”
Holly continued: “We live in one of the wealthiest counties (Loudoun County) in Virginia, if not the nation. We have those issues. Kids from less privileged areas won’t go to college and that’s going to affect the rest of their lives.”
She then related a couple of stories that have impacted young people in Loudoun County. This is just a piece of a larger picture where kids not going to school and not participating in athletics has rippled through social circles and indirectly caused greater harm than missing school and sports.
“During what would have been (August) football practice, a bunch of kids were swimming in the river near our house. 99% of them were football players. One of the boys drowned. It is unbelievably tragic. My sister lives in Arlington and two of her daughter’s really good friends are football players. They were in a near fatal accident. It’s more dangerous for them not playing football.”
The impact of idle time on the lives of young people is undeniable.
The current VHSL plan has winter sports starting the sports calendar in December, with traditional fall sports starting practices in February. 35 states already have plans in place to play high school sports this fall, including Michigan and Delaware, with quite a few states already playing football.
Again, the event is Monday, September 14 at the Capitol Building in Richmond and it starts at Noon.
– Andy Hilton