Bloomfield student-athletes protest fall sports being postponed until at least January

Matt Hollinshead,

BLOOMFIELD — Like others across the state, Bloomfield student-athletes voiced their displeasure with New Mexico sports being postponed until at least January 2021.

Roughly 25 high school and junior high student-athletes and a handful of parents gathered in the main parking lot at BHS on Monday to protest the decision.

“My instant reaction was definitely shock and disappointment,” said Emily McGee, a cheerleader at BHS. “We’ve worked almost all year for this, just to have it just taken away within a second, it’s not fair… Not only is (sports) helping our physical well-being, but seeing other people is helping us a lot. You see a lot more kids getting depression through this because no one’s seeing each other.”

The group wore face coverings and did not bring signs.

Student-athletes across New Mexico respond to governor's decision

Protests started this past weekend across New Mexico, from Albuquerque and Santa Fe to Las Cruces.

They’re occurring on the heels of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision last week to postpone fall sports.

“I was pretty upset about it because I really wanted to do sports. We’re practicing right now... (Bayfield’s) having their games right now (in Colorado),” said Thomas Beevers, who participates in football and track at Bloomfield High. “For me, it really sucks. For most people, there’s not any motivation to do something. Sports was a really good motivation for people to get out.”

A group of students participate in a protest, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, at Bloomfield High School.

Beevers said not being able to play in actual games could lead to workouts being viewed as pointless.

“Most of those kids will start doing other things like start hanging out with bad people instead of doing sports, where they can actually work out and be recognized by (colleges),” Beevers said.

Beevers, a discus thrower, said he’s still practicing things like his form in that event for track. For football, he’s also doing leg and step training, as well as weight training.

“In the weight room, we’re all wearing a mask,” Beevers said. “It sucks breathing in a mask when you have morning breath, but the workout’s worth it.”  

COVID-19 cases continue to emerge in New Mexico

New Mexico’s up to 33,362 total positive COVID-19 cases through Monday, according to New Mexico Department of Health data. Between Sept. 24 and Monday alone, 5,375 New Mexicans have tested positive.

A group of Bloomfield High School students arrived at the school, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in a truck with "Let Us Learn" painted onto a window.

Much of the latest cases are happening in places like Albuquerque, Las Cruces and the southeast part of the state.

“Once (those cases) go down, I feel like we’re good to open up,” McGee said. “When this first started, San Juan County was a major hotspot. Once we went down (in cases), we started getting better and that helped everyone else. So I think it’s only fair that they help us.”

But if things don't dramatically improve to where sports can start sooner, Beevers said he and his family will plan to move out of state.

“We need sports. We need something to do,” Beevers said. “(Sports) teaches you self-discipline… It’s just a really great way to start off the day. It teaches you discipline, it teaches you ‘OK, I’ve got to wake up at this time, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to put this much effort.’ Plus, you feel better.”

McGee said restarting sports in some manner will help student-athletes “function like human beings” again.

“If you’re sick, don’t go out. But if you’re not, let us go. We’re not doing anything wrong, so let us go back,” McGee said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: