GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A coronavirus hot spot and very limited capacity is riling up Colorado parents as the state football championships get underway. Last Year, Cherry Creek beat Columbine in front of nearly 13,000 people at Mile High Stadium. This year a total of 150 spectators are allowed in the stadium at CSU Pueblo for each of the 7 championship games.
“Parents just want to watch their kids play,” said Molly Lamar, the mom of a Cherry Creek football player. “This is such a positive for our kids. The kids have been robbed of so many experiences whether its graduation, dances and sports seasons, and what an accomplishment (to reach the state championship). We deserve to be there and the kids want us there. They want to share this with us.”
Lamar started a Change.org petition on Sunday night that had received nearly 9,5000 signatures by Friday night. The petition started when no spectators were going to be allowed. On Tuesday, CHSAA announced each team gets 75 tickets after a variance from the state was approved. Lamar says that’s one parent per player.
“We didn’t ask for the whole high school. Cherry Creek High School is almost 4,000 kids and these kids deserve that championship experience. We asked simply for two parents per athlete,” she said.
Lamar has gone well beyond the online petition campaign, she’s made appeals to the Gov. Jared Polis’ office, CDPHE, CHSAA, and even the mayor and health department in Pueblo. Some parents have said it makes more sense for the games to be closer to home. The 5A game between Valor Christian and Cherry Creek is Saturday night.
“In a stadium of 6,500, where the capacity is that large, it is not unreasonable to have on one side 150 people that support each team,” she said.
In November, CHSAA announced all state title games would be moving to Pueblo with 1,400 fans able to attend. But over the next few weeks, Pueblo would become one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus in Colorado. Positivity rates in that area are approaching 16%.
The health concerns and potential for exposure are more issues each parent is grappling with as they decided if it’s worth only one of them making the trip to support their kids. Others are opting to stay at home and watch the game on a stream.
“For some of these families this is the last time they will get to see their kid perform in their high school sport,” Lamar said.