Letting their feelings be known, student-athletes from Oakdale High School joined the statewide #LetThemPlayCA movement, gathering at the West G Street campus on Friday, Jan. 15. At 4 p.m. student-athletes began to show up with their signs, many wearing Mustangs gear and more importantly, their masks.
The event was organized by junior Jackson Holt. He heard about the movement and wanted to make sure Oakdale High School was represented.
“We are anxious, we are smart and we want to play,” said Holt at the peaceful demonstration. “I really do think this can be done safely, responsibly and smart.”
Holt was among many in attendance, from freshmen to senior student-athletes. Every sport was represented as well.
Freshman Presley Barnes, a softball player and track athlete, was one of the first to show up in front of the school for the cause. Barnes spoke on mental health and why it is important to get back into the classroom and re-instate athletics in California.
“Mental health is so important and the absence of normalcy has taken its toll on a lot of students in the state. We have done everything that was asked of us and we are ready to get back to the classroom and our chosen sports,” Barnes said.
Many of the supporters showed up with handmade signs. Some included: “Play Sports, Not Politics” “Oakdale Mustangs Want To Play” “Right To Play” and “Mustangs Are Ready”. A sign was held up by senior soccer player Marcos Hercules read: “It Is Our Dream, Ambition, Career Opportunity and Our Passion. Let Us Play Our Season.” Hercules spoke on what it means for him and his peers to return.
“To suit up, and play the game would be amazing. I missed out on most of my senior year already. For me it would be a great privilege to return and play Mustangs soccer. It’s the game I love.”
Junior wrestler Omar Miguel Perez has wrestled for the Mustangs throughout high school.
“I love and miss my teammates and the sport of wrestling. I came out here today to support my classmates and the Oakdale Mustangs. My hope is that we can return to campus and the sports that we love. It would be great to return this year. Other countries have ‘The Rona’ and they figured it out.”
Although this was an Oakdale High School student-athlete attendee event only, the teens had lots of supporters drive by throughout the event, honking horns in support.