DES MOINES, Iowa — With Des Moines Public Schools still 100% online their athletes are prohibited from athletic competition. “That’s what makes us most worried is just the things these kids are losing out on,” said Roosevelt High School football coach Mitchell Moore. Some of those same athletes could play if they signed up to play somewhere else in the city. “Participant safety is our number one priority,” said Marketing Supervisor Jen Fletcher at the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. Fletcher says they are filled with leagues from flag football and volleyball to softball and kickball of all ages. “We are asking everyone to follow the Mayor’s mandate for masks and wear them when they are in a group and with family. When recreating you can take them off,” said Fletcher.
Participants, coaches, referees and spectators must sign off on an extensive list of precautions and Covid-19 protocols. Fletcher said, “It gives them a respite from being inside and gives them a space to get out and get fresh air because excercise is a great way to take a break from the situation we are all in.”
Frustration continues for high school football coaches like Mitchell Moore of Roosevelt High School in Des Moines who says his players can’t even use their own practice field to stay active. “The kids that are out throwing the football on the practice field at Roosevelt, they get kicked off the field but the youth on the other side of the field in full pads can practice.”
Roosevelt’s volleyball coach Mark Steinbach has the 13th ranked team in the state sitting on the shelf. It breaks my heart to see our kids aren’t able to have the same opportunities that the suburb schools are. Parks and rec is going on obviously and AAU fall softball that Roosevelt girls are participating in,” Steinbach said.
18 year old seniors can’t play for their school but they can suit up and play in an adult flag football or volleyball league at Des Moines Parks and Rec. Moore said, “There’s just so much hypocrisy going on it’s ridiculous. It is hard to explain to my eight year old son who now all the sudden, his dad is coaching his little league baseball team but he can’t coach his own varsity sport.”
Sports, much like life will go on. These coaches just wish it weren’t without their athletes. Moore said, “I wish somebody would have gotten an image last week of our team and captains in our program leaning up on the fence at Valley Stadium watching Waukee and Dowling play. Let that image sit in for a little bit.”
The school district approved a hybrid plan Monday but both the hybrid plan and the timeline hinge on metrics that the district has not yet approved. The school board will meet next monday.
A full list of adult and youth parks and rec leagues is available on the city of Des Moines website.