ROSELLE, Ill. (CBS) — Saturday is the post-season for hundreds of Chicago Public Schools athletes. But for almost two weeks, it was anyone’s guess if they’d be able to play because of the Chicago teachers’ strike.
Proud Simeon football mom Kenyatta Starks wasn’t taking her chance to cheer for granted Saturday at playoffs.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Illinois: Officials Report 1,249 New COVID-19 Cases, Including 22 Additional Deaths
Like many CPS parents who were hanging in the balance during the strike, she didn’t know if she’d be spending playoffs weekend at home or on the bleachers.
“It’s been a hard journey but it’s been worthwhile knowing I’m sitting here right now,” Starks said.
Moms, grandparents, brothers, even the city’s mayor showed up to support the team that was at the forefront of the fight to even be there.
“It has been a rough journey. My son, when he realized he may not be able to play he really, really was upset, he was in tears,” Starks said.
It’s been an emotional ride. The Simeon football team pleaded just over a week ago for the Illinois High School Association to waive their eight game rule so they could qualify for playoffs — which they did.
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But with celebrations came feelings of frustration from cross country athletes who were told Friday morning by IHSA they would not be given the same treatment.
Taft High School senior Sydney Partyka was among the cross country athletes who shed tears of frustration, followed shortly by disbelief after a turn of events.
“My coach texts me and he’s like ‘you’re running’ and I was like ‘what?!’” Partyka said.
In a stunning reversal in a race against the clock, just minutes remaining right before the courts closed, a judge ruled that the IHSA could not keep these students from running despite the teacher’s strike.
Excitement turned into a last-minute scramble to get ready for sectionals in mere hours.
And for a competitive cross country athlete, running at the last minute in the cold mud is better than no running at all.
“I still have the ability to reach my goals that I want, I’m still hoping for that all-state place, we’ll see what happens,” Partyka said.
Soccer and volleyball were among the team sports unable to compete this weekend.MORE NEWS: Chicago Culture Celebrates The City While Giving Back To Youth For Black History Month
An attorney for the IHSA didn’t comment on whether they would revisit their policy on individual sports.