This school year, we really let our high school athletes down. This is the time of year that we in Maine would have been enjoying the annual Maine Principals’ Association high school basketball tournaments.

Because of the contagious nature of the coronavirus, it’s certainly understandable why thousands cannot be in an enclosed building at once. However, since a mass gathering could be avoided, there’s no good reason that Maine could not have done the same as the majority of other states, and held state and regional basketball tournaments behind closed doors.

Because of the directives of Gov. Mills’ administration, high school teams can only play an opponent from the same or an adjacent county, with an arbitrary limit to the number of people in the building. These directives force the MPA to abandon the rich tradition of our basketball tournaments.

These decisions are flawed from the start. Maine has 16 very disparate counties, and unilateral, statewide decisions here are wrong. We should involve and trust our local administrators to find the best way to ensure our kids realize a sense of normalcy, to maximize their physical and mental health. Just as their siblings and friends before them, these kids deserve to be a part of the rich tradition, too.

So many other states are using common sense to make sure that athletes are playing safely. We could have done the same, rather than let fear rule their lives.

Jim Baines
state chairman
Tyler Rowe
state secretary
Libertarian Party of Maine
Hampden

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