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Football guidelines a breeze compared to band rules
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: I’m a Band Mom. I know this is a “sports” column, but I have to say something. The state-mandated regulations for band are ten times stricter than the ones for the football teams! Why does my son have to wear a mask with a special flap for his trombone mouthpiece — not to mention keeping nine feet away from his bandmates — while all the jocks are down there on the field tackling each other! Don’t football players breathe heavily when they’re running? Don’t they spit and slobber? Don’t quarterbacks usually shout the snap count? How is any of this okay? My son will adhere to all the state-mandated regulations, but the disparity between the band and football guidelines is simply unfair.

 — Band Mom

Dear Band Mom: The age-old rivalry rears its ugly head yet again: football versus band. Back before COVID, the bleachers were the main battleground for this inevitable conflict. Band parents complained about people leaving during halftime and “missing the show.” Football parents whined about band parents leaving after halftime and not supporting the home team down the stretch. 

And now here we are, in the midst of a national pandemic, and the question has become which group has it worse in regard to masks and social distancing.

Regardless of the timeframe, one thing you have to remember is that we’re all on the same team. The football players benefit from the band. The band members benefit from the football team.  

And don’t forget, the coaches and the players weren’t the ones who came up with the guidelines. They’re simply playing by the rules that were given to them. Try to remember this as you move forward into what will already be a tumultuous season.

Dear Athletic Support: My son plays school-sanctioned sports. I’m not going to reveal which sport because what I’m about to say could upset some other parents. The truth is, so many parents aren’t adhering to the guidelines regarding COVID, social distancing, and masks. I see it every day when I pick my son up from practice. And the worst part? The kids are following their lead! I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve had come to my house not wearing a mask. This situation is creating a divide between me and the other parents. It’s gotten so bad, I’m limiting which kids my son can go around. I’m trying hard not to judge, but this COVID stuff is serious. I’m sick of feeling like I’m the only one playing by the rules. — COVID Referee  

Dear Referee: You can’t control other people. This pandemic has made that painstakingly clear. And as the old saying goes, “The only person in charge of your happiness is YOU!” 

With that being said, I think you have every right to be wary of other families who aren’t following the guidelines. Keep your distance, but refrain from judging them. 

In the end, judgment will only cost you valuable mental energy, and there are plenty of other, more important things to worry about these days. 

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to

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