Special to AllSportsTucson from Rachael Hallett.
Pusch Ridge Christian Academy junior Hayden Hallett is using his voice to honor individuals, families and healthcare workers impacted by the 2020 pandemic.
Hayden Hallett, who has been directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic has dedicated his 2020 season to his uncle Ryan Parker, a Tucson native. Parker, a 38 year old husband and father of two, has been battling an extreme case of Covid-19 since the end of June. He is an Arizona resident who was a graduate of Amphitheater High School and a graduate of the University of Arizona. Parker was admitted to the ICU on July 9 and has been fighting for his life ever since. Hallett shared that going through this experience has made him realize how important our healthcare workers are, especially during a time when families cannot visit their loved ones. He, along with his two younger sisters have been sending cards and letters to hospital staff and families of other victims of Covid-19. “It’s a very lonely crisis and I want to help bring joy and encouragement to others who are fighting this awful disease,” Hallett said.
While PRCA is one of the first teams in Southern Arizona to play a high school football game this season, they won’t be playing under normal circumstances. Extreme safety protocols are in place and only two guests per player will be allowed into the game. For this junior, he’s just thankful to get on the field. “We didn’t know if we would have a season this year, so we are incredibly grateful to get to play, even if it looks different,” said Hallett.
Hallett is recognized as a top student-athlete in multiple sports and is a leader on and off the field. Staff see him arriving at school early and staying late to get extra time with teachers. His academic efforts are reflected in his 3.8 GPA, and teachers share he works just as hard in the classroom as he does on the field. He is the ultimate utility player, not only on the football field, but on the basketball court and the baseball field. As a sophomore, he led the 2019 PRCA football team as quarterback and took on an unexpected role as the team’s kicker, after an injury took his teammate John Goodwillie out of the game. He didn’t miss a field goal the rest of the season and he will continue as the kicker for the 2020 season, as well in key roles on offense and defense. Hallett will continue rotating as quarterback and wide-receiver, as well starting at free safety on defense.
He hopes that sports continue throughout the year, allowing student-athletes to pursue their passions and stay healthy, both mentally and physically. At a small school like PRCA, Hallett won’t have much time to catch his breath, but he says the pandemic has reminded him of how grateful he is for good health. He said, “Each breath is a gift from God and I intend to use my gifts wisely.”
While Covid-19 cases have greatly decreased over recent weeks, Hallett hopes to continue encouraging those in the fight. “I get videos from my Uncle Ryan every week and he reminds me to keep fighting and encouraging others. He is a hero and his doctors and nurses are heroes too. We need to keep playing it smart, in life and on the field, as we work together to overcome this crisis.”