Ventura County athletes call for full resumption of sports at #LetVenturaPlay rally


Josh Villasenor

Ventura High School Athletes gather in protest for a season that was canceled in an effort to reduce COVID-19 spread.

Sam Noah, Reporter

After almost eight months since the cancelation of high school sports due to the national coronavirus lockdown, the student-athletes of Ventura, California and surrounding areas have been itching to get back to their respective sports. On Friday, Nov. 6, athletes, parents and coaches participated in a “Let Ventura Play” rally from 3:30 to 5:30 at the Ventura County Government Center. 

Participants wore masks and held signs that read “let us play”, “we want a season” and “sports can be safe.” An array of teams and sports were represented, from Ventura High School (VHS), Buena High School (BHS), Ventura College (VC) and community leagues such as the Ventura Youth Basketball Association along with Saticoy and Port Hueneme little leagues. 

The majority of participants hailed from the VHS football program, in addition to around a dozen VHS cheerleaders who had their school spirit on full display.

Cade Ledesma ’20, a varsity football and basketball athlete at VHS says “this protest is just to get the whole community involved and get everyone together so we can all stand as one and try to just get our point across that we should be playing sports.”

Throughout Ventura Unified School District, teams are moving into Phase One or Phase Two protocols in returning to play, but Ledesma hopes to move into Phase Three before December.

With returning to play comes the necessary precautions, and VC student and Foothill Tech alumni Louis Martinez says that similar to professional sports, “you get your temperature checked, wear masks when not on the field and sanitize too.”

Despite success throughout the district during Phase One and Two reopenings, it has not been without hurdles. The varsity football coach at BHS, Ryan Bolland, tested positive for COVID-19 in early November and BHS in-person football operations were shut down for two weeks.

These athletes and their supporters hope to overcome this obstacle and get back on the field as soon as safely possible. Another rally was held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 at the Ventura County Government Center.

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