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MWA Call to Action

By MI Grappler, 01/25/21, 12:00PM EST

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Sunday morning the MHSAA met with the presidents of the “Winter Sports” coaches associations and all feel that February 1st start is an option still on the table. The MWA Executive Board and Regional Representatives had a meeting Sunday evening and developed the following action plan to have the best possible chance of having a
winter sports season.

We are asking coaches to work with their wrestlers, parents and ADs to get letters, emails, and social media communications to our state politicians to remind them just how impactful that interscholastic sports are in Michigan. All sports and coaches are in this together, don’t hesitate to coordinate and work with the other sports coaches in school.

Attached to this email is a draft letter that you can share with everyone to use as a template to send out. There is also a sample student-athlete letter you can have your athletes write and send. Please have your athletes tell their own personal story via this template. Have your athletes take a picture of their letters and share on all the social media along with email, and US Mail.

The more places and people we reach the greater the impact.
Step 1: Have your athletes & parents write their own letter using the attached template (See Winter Sports Call to Action)
Step 2: Have your athletes and parents send their letter to the MDHHS and Governor using the following
contacts. Please use the subject line: Winter Sports Call to Action
● For the MDHHS, the contact email for Dr. Kalhoun is: GregoryR2@michigan.gov
● Link to contact Governor: https://somgovweb.state.mi.us/GovRelations/ContactGovernor.aspx
Step 3: Find your local Senators and State Representatives contact information here and then have your athletes and parents send their letters using the subject line: Winter Sports Call to Action
● Michigan State Senators: https://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html
● Michigan House of Representatives: FIND YOUR REP OR TABLE LISTING
Step 4: Have your athletes take a picture of their letter and then post it to all of their social media outlets.

Sample Parent Letter

Winter Sports Call to Action
January 25, 2021
To Whom It May Concern,

On behalf of my winter sports athlete, my family solemnly appeals to your high office in hopes of reinstating contact sports in Michigan on February 1st. We understand that this pandemic has been difficult for everyone, from the state capitol to every town and hamlet in Michigan. However, we are at a precipice. The student athletes of
Michigan have endured an unimaginable year of turmoil, the likes of which we will not fully know for some time. The traumatic experience of the start and stop nature of athletics has left many student athletes despondent and coaches grasping for answers. We are beseeching you to reconsider the recent announcement to delay contact sports and to do so immediately.

Like all sports, wrestling equips young men and women with discipline, fortitude, leadership skills, and a lifelong appreciation for fitness and health - virtues that are in dire need at this present time. Participation in scholastic athletics is an integral part of a student’s holistic education and the relationships that are forged last a lifetime. The student athletes of Michigan have suffered and allowing student-athletes the opportunity to compete in wrestling would give them a tremendous outlet and a much needed support system in these challenging times. For many seniors, this season, albeit a shortened one, would give them closure and self actualization years in the making.

Furthermore, we know that some fellow student-athletes will travel across state lines to compete in wrestling while the uncertainty looms. For better or worse, families and athletes will travel to compete and seek opportunities outside of the school-based jurisdiction. At its core, wrestling thrives as a school-based sport in part because it is equitable and accessible to all. There will be a migration to club programs and participation beyond our borders will
continue for those who have the means to do so. Those that do not will continue to endure the hardship of isolation and uncertainty and they will miss out on the opportunity to participate and be mentored by the ranks of our caring and qualified high school coaches.

We resolutely ask that you allow contact sports to start again in Michigan on February 1st. We believe that the benefits for our student-athletes and coaches are worth the steps needed to allow it to safely continue in Michigan. It is imperative that we salvage a season for these courageous and committed student athletes if only to give them a north star during this darkened hour. Our organization, which represents coaches and officials in Michigan, humbly yet emphatically entreats that contact sports - wrestling, hockey, basketball, and cheer - be given the clearance to assume regular practices and competitions on February 1st as previously planned. We eagerly await your response and hope that science and compassion can prevail.

Respectfully,

Name
Parents of...
High School & Sport

Sample Student-Athlete Letter

Winter Sports Call to Action
January 25, 2021
To Whom It May Concern,

Being a student athlete during these uncertain times has been the challenge of a lifetime. High school student athletes have endured every hardship imaginable in the past eleven months - virtual learning, hybrid schedules, sports cancellations, family struggles, and social isolation. As winter sport athletes we had looked forward to starting our season, seeing our friends, connecting with our coaches, and participating in the sports that we love. Sadly, the news that contact sports - wrestling, basketball, hockey, cheerleading - will be paused and competition will be again moved to a later date is incredibly discouraging.

In one calendar year our generation has proven to be resilient. Luckily through winter sports we have developed sportsmanship, leadership, mental toughness, and a strong work ethic - qualities that were needed to overcome the adversity of 2020-2021. However, nothing can really prepare a team or individual for the prospect of losing your
season or the inconsistency of continued delays. Our strength has been tested and our hearts have been burdened with learning that yet another delay to our season is imminent.

[Possible Personal Story Here]

Our appeal to officials at the state and local level is simply to let us begin our season. We ask that contact sports be given clearance to begin as previously planned, on February 1st. We can and will follow all safety guidelines and will continue to practice and compete with the cautious guardrails that our coaches and administrators have put in place. The memories we will make and the cherished moments we will forge with our teammates this winter season are worth it. We are worth it. Please find it in your heart to allow high school athletes to return to the mat, the gym, or the ice on February 1st. My team and I will eagerly await your response to our request.

Respectfully,

Name
High School
Class Year
Sport

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