Sports Complex Cited for Hosting Wrestling Tournament

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A sports complex in suburban Chicago was cited after hosting a youth wrestling tournament in violation of the state of Illinois’ coronavirus mitigation protocols. 

NBC Chicago reports that the Southland Center, located in Lynwood, Ill., held the tournament over the weekend despite Tier 3 mitigation protocols prohibiting indoor youth sports. The Cook County department of health is investigating the incident.

Governor J.B. Pritzker, who has drawn ire over his efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, called the tournament a “terrible idea.” He told NBC Chicago that he wished people would hold steady, as vaccine distribution begins throughout the country. 

“We need to survive for us to be able to take the vaccine,” Pritzker said. “We want all the people that would like to wrestle to be able to get this vaccine. Putting parents, teachers and coaches, and kids, in danger is a terrible idea.”

According to the state’s mitigation plan, all group indoor sports and recreational activities are put on pause (individual training, with facility reservation, is allowed to continue). 

Meanwhile, Joe Trost, a prominent voice in pushing for the resumption of some athletic activities amid the pandemic, told NBC Chicago that events like the wrestling tournament are not uncommon, and that they’re likely to continue without stricter enforcement.

“It’s polarizing because there’s people who believe that kids should be out there, and there are people who are going to continue to do this unless there’s authorities that are walking in and shutting facilities down,” Trost said. 

“People want what’s best for their kids, and fortunately or unfortunately, people are looking at it through their own lens, and if they feel that it’s safe or healthy for their child to do it, then that’s what they’re doing.”

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