Atlanta United has made it to the MLS Cup Finals and the city could not be happier, that is unless you are a parent or supporter of high school football.
Recently GHSA announced that it will be moving the high school state finals from the original dates to December 11 and 12, which just so happen to fall on weekdays, and there has been an uproar of complaints. There are complaints about everything and honestly, I have a huge problem with that.
The reasons parents and others are giving are absolutely ridiculous.
"The boys have worked all year for this and now people aren't going to get to see them play, parents can't just get off on weekdays."
Well, there are plenty of other sports that have games, tournaments, matches, on weekdays so why should football be the only one that doesn't? I am sorry but football ALWAYS pulls precedent over every other sport that high school has, at least they are still getting to play at Mercedes, they didn't have to allow it.
"Move the soccer finals, it's not like it's more popular than football."
I'm sorry but have you been to an Atlanta United game before? My answer will be a big fat NO if you are saying that. Atlanta United has broken so many MLS records and has only been here for two years. They have the number one total season attendance with 901,033 fans (MLS record), number one single match attendance with 72,243 fans (MLS record), number one average match attendance with 53,002 fans (MLS record), number one U.S. open cup match attendance with 41,012 fans (MLS record), and number one single match playoff attendance with 70,526 fans (MLS record). Now, the last time I checked, that was pretty even with the beloved Atlanta Falcons. And please correct me if I am wrong if it just so happened to be a professional football game that made you move the dates, I am almost positive that there wouldn't be any backlash then, would there?
"It's tradition for them to play there on the weekend."
Well, honey, it may be tradition but it isn't a right. Mercedes Benz Stadium is the HOME FIELD for Atlanta United and to get home field advantage for a FINAL game is amazing. It is a privilege for the high school players to play on that field. And honestly, if I were to have to choose between high school football state championships and an MLS game, I would choose the professional sport time and time again. The stadium can sell alcohol, ALL of the restaurants will be open, ALL of the tickets have been sold, the amount of money that will be made from one professional game will trump the money made from all of the state games combined.
"This is the second year in a row that we have had to move [the date of] the finals for them."
Well, if you are having so many problems with Mercedes maybe you should start contact colleges about using their fields for the games. I am sure those schools wouldn't mind opening up their fields to some new prospective players, and there are plenty of fields to choose from University of Georgia, Georiga Tech, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern, and the many many other college campuses in the state of Georgia, or just simply move them to your home fields.
"They will be in the middle of testing, that isn't fair."
You want to play the game, you have to roll with the punches. There are things called make-up days. I don't know if you have heard of them but they are mandatory by the state. Also, many other athletes, high school and college, miss tests and assignments to play their sport and are doing perfectly fine. If you are not confident that your student-athlete can't manage a makeup test, there are some other problems.
All in all, just get over it!! They are still getting to play, AS A REWARD FOR BEING THE BEST TEAMS, at Mercedes Benz Stadium. They don't DESERVE to play here because they did amazing, but they are being allowed to because it is Georgia tradition. Plenty of other states play their state championships at their home fields. I get that "sudden" changes can be frustrating, but why not take it up with the GHSA when they first announced that it might have to move, why wait until there is little you can do about it unless complaining is all you want to do.