Eagles tight end Zach Ertz says that if Pennsylvania cancels high school sports for the rest of this year, as the governor is recommending, it’s going to be a big loss for kids like him.
“I want kids to be healthy, first and foremost,” Ertz said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s the primary goal. But I remember being 15 years old with my parents separated. I was the oldest of four boys. I was so frustrated. The only thing that I knew how to do, the only way I could express myself, was playing football. All I did was lift weights, play football, play basketball. And that allowed me to release my internal stress and pressure that had built up inside of me because of what was going on.”
Ertz said he hopes that if sports aren’t played this fall, the money that would have been spent on sports goes toward some other way for teenagers to spend their time productively.
“Obviously, football costs money,” he said. “So if they were to disband football, where does that money go? I would love to see it invested in these kids to make sure that they’re OK and taken care of, and not on the streets from 3 to 7. I was fortunate enough to have football. I was not out on the streets from 3 to 7. I had organization after school, with football and basketball. I couldn’t imagine the path I would’ve gone down if I didn’t have football to express myself.”
The second-order effects of this pandemic are hard to measure, but they are undeniably enormous. And Ertz is right to worry about the high schoolers who are heading into a school year unlike any other.