Monday, May 18, 2020
Essential vs. Non-Essential -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
WILL, WHEN AND HOW
I had a prolonged discussion with a long-time Cardinal women's sports fan (via phone) yesterday that I hadn't been in contact with in awhile. Although we covered a wide variety of topics and subjects, the most interesting part of our chat evolved around the slow restart of events and athletics in our world.
This fan is a firm believer that we need to "proceed as normal" this fall with sports on the UofL campus. That was an area of dissension between us. I don't know when we'll be able to go back to the "old normal". I fear that this fall may be too soon to go to that "old normal". Especially with the prospects of a virus vaccine not being envisioned until the end of 2020.
The "old normal" seems a bit unattainable right now. I'll lay that out for you.
Let's say that I'm headed to campus to cover a UofL women's athletic sporting event as a media representative. It starts with parking. Will I be able to "socially distance" my parking? My next step is getting out of my vehicle. In addition to gathering the things I need to cover the event as a media representative, I'll need to add to the list a couple of things.
A mask and hand sanitizer.
The rules may eventually stipulate that I can't bring anything in the venue, as well. Will photographers be allowed cameras? Will I be allowed a laptop and recording device? The virus can live on surfaces for varying times, you know.
So, I'm walking to the venue. I'll normally go to the designed area I enter, go through a security "bag check" and chat a bit with the security personnel. How do we "social distance" that activity? And, with proper spacing, how long will that procedure take? I usually walk right up to the security checkpoint. At six-feet distancing, it might take a lot longer to get in.
After getting clearance, it's to the press box. I'll normally see a few people I know on the way to the coverage area. A stop to chat in close proximity, maybe shake hands or exchange a quick hug or mutual pat on the back.
As our governor is fond of saying these days:
"You can't do that."
Then, it's the dilemma of seating and spacing inside the press box. Press boxes can be crowded venues with the sports information director, timekeeper, stat keeper, shot clock operator, various student-interns performing various tasks, a public address announcer and members of the media. That's just to begin with, in terms of personnel. How do you socially distance all of those people in a limited area?
We're still an hour before game time, dear friends.
I do believe it's going to take quite some time to get back to the "old normal" and I haven't even got to, by far, the most important topic in "game day" procedures.
The health and safety of the student-athletes that will be performing.
How do your socially distance game action? The huddles, the player-on-player competition for control of the ball, defensive strategies, gatherings on the sidelines and other player interactions? Taking care of our student-athletes is job #1, but how can you have them compete in masks? After all, they have to breathe. How do you socially distance multiple post-game interviews?
The "old normal" is a ways down the path, I fear. Just how the "new normal" will look is anyone's guess.
Essential vs. Non-essential. Health and safety vs fan enjoyment. What are the rules ahead going to be?
I watched horse racing on TV yesterday. No, the horses aren't wearing masks and neither are the jockeys -- but all the other people involved are. The trainers, hot walkers, paddock staff, out-riders and the other essential people getting a horse ready to run in a race are in masks. No, they aren't having a jockey reaching for hand-sanitizer or washing his (or her) hands in hot water in the winner's circle immediately after winning a race...but I'm confident the staging area for the jockeys before and after races are well-sanitized and spaced. I'm confident the massive barn areas where the horses are brought from and returned to on race day -- plus all the other days where they are taken care of -- are protecting the personnel involved in conducting the care and training of the horses.
Player A scores. There is no team, group celebration/hugging and high-fiving afterwards Do the teams on the field run over to the sidelines for hand sanitizer squirts from a bottle or immediately wash their hands in hot water and soap? Is there a nose swab and temperature check?
I haven't even got into the fan aspect of attending games yet. That's a completely different and complicated subject that I don't have the time, knowledge or guidance on to discuss properly here yet. How many fans are let in and who get to ( or wants to) attend? If any at all?
I have football season tickets. I'm not sure I'm ready to give hugs, exchange high-fives and scream in joy with my friends
sitting around me just yet.
Interesting times ahead, readers. Yes, indeed.
Our political leaders, NCAA and conference directors and personnel will come up with something. Whether it'll be effective first time out of the gate remains to be seen.
I don't think any of us want to see the "curve go back up" again. Proceed cautiously. These days of having our cake and eating it, too are gone. Get used to it for awhile.