Dragon Breath

“Rebound!  Get under the boards!  Use your butt! And rebound!”

I am next to the father of a girl on the team playing my daughter’s team.  He is wearing a mask, but it is under his chin and as he shouts at his poor daughter, I can see the spittle flying from his mouth.  The man next to him is also weaning a mask, but he pulls it down every time he yells at the ref.  “Travel!  That’s a travel!”

All the other members of the team’s fan contingent sitting in the stands nearby are wearing masks, but many of those masks are also on their chins or if they are over their mouths, they don’t cover their noses, and the parents pull them down to yell at their daughters or the refs.

I feel bad for the guy’s daughter.  She is the tallest and heaviest person on the court and she is doing her best, but only when she scores does she draw praise.

I am sure her father loves her, and loves watching her play, but I worry that he doesn’t recognize the seriousness of what is happening in the world.  Why wouldn’t he follow the rules and wear his mask properly rather than sending his dragon breath of possible COVID spittle into the air of this facility where sixty girls are playing basketball on three courts in a gym that is hot and not as well ventilated as the other gyms the girls have played in?

Maybe some people think the same of me, wondering why I allow my daughter to play at all in an indoor gym in this time of COVID.

The other gyms my daughter has played in have all followed strict protocols, but this one is crowded and hot and the mask wearing is half-assed and there are no temperature checks at the doors, and teams waiting to play next are allowed to congregate in the building instead of being held outside.

I am thrilled my daughter is getting to play again, and while COVID is very low in Connecticut now, there are hints of an uptick, and I have told her to enjoy each game as if it were her last because if COVID comes back or if anyone gets sick at any of these games, they are going to get shut down.  Or if the numbers come up and she is asked to play again in a gym like this, I will shut her down.  Still it will be a shame.

Sports adds immense value to life.  You need joy in life and sports bring my daughter great joy.  It all makes me wonder about the limits of risk.  I will continue to work as a paramedic and treat COVID patients and come home to my family.  I will let my daughter play sports as long as I believe it is safe and it brings her joy.  I won’t eat in a restaurant or get on an airplane or go to anyone’s house for a party.  I wear my mask when I am within six feet of anyone not in my immediate circle.  Other than going to the grocery store and taking my daughter to her practices and games, I stay in my own bubble as well as I can.

I don’t understand why everyone is not following the safety protocols.  I don’t understand why people don’t wear masks.  I don’t understand why a business that needs to stay open doesn’t take every precaution they can.  Ban the parents if you have to.  Let us watch online.  Better that than add risk.

I think in the end, there is an absence of education and understanding of the germ.  Many people don’t understand that masks save lives.  My daughter’s coach keeps them outside until the game starts.  He makes them wear masks unless they are in the game.  Everyone who comes off the court, has to sanitize their hands.  Game out over, out the door.

I hope her sports seasons continue.  I hope that no one gets sick.  But I am worried.

What if COVID stays with us forever like the common cold?

Will we close all sports down?  Will we play through it despite collateral damage?  Or will we find good safety protocols and stick to them?  

I am watching sports on TV now.  Breaking news.  The Florida Marlins baseball team, 14 of their players have tested positive for COVID and their game tonight has been cancelled.  The talking heads on TV are saying the major league baseball season is doomed.

Report: Marlins-Orioles game canceled due to possible COVID-19 outbreak

In another story, an NBA basketball player is let out of the bubble they have been keeping the players in to minimize risk to attend a funeral.  He is spotted that night in a strip club.

Lou Williams must quarantine for 10 days, will miss at least two games

People, wear your masks. Reduce risk wherever you can.  Be careful.  The dragon is still out there.

Much is in jeopardy.