Corona (the not good kind)
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
My university more or less shut down today, following suit of more than fifty other colleges and universities. No more athletics. Clear out the dorms. Online classes only for the remainder of the semester. Corona.
We don’t have any reported cases, but the university decided to be proactive. It makes for a sad day. I feel for the spring coaches and their players – especially their players… the senior who was in the cafeteria today, eating lunch, having no idea that he’d already played his last game, thrown his last pitch, scored her last goal. To go out like that, it just ain’t right. Being robbed of that final moment in the spotlight, that last chance to write the last line of your own story… it’s the opposite of going out on your own terms. It’s devastating.
It was a sad decision, but no one will know if it was the right one for quite some time. That said, I don’t disagree with it. I’ve paid attention to the medical experts. I listened to what they’ve said, and the numbers are staggering. (And by the way, if you think this thing is a media conspiracy, please stop confusing memes with actual news and start paying attention). The bottom line is that it’s going to get worse before it gets better – and no one has any idea when it will even begin to get better – and we are dreadfully underprepared as a nation. A lot of people think that a college dormitory might be the safest place to be right now, seeing as how their age bracket seems to fend it off well, and maybe that’s true, but who’s to say, really? Right now everyone is just guessing. Although their age bracket is less affected, they certainly aren’t immune to this thing. And oh by the way, college students aren’t cookie-cutter beings. What one kid’s body may brush aside, another’s may not. And I’m told that viruses mutate. What happens if there’s a mutation and now college kids aren’t so bulletproof? Now you’ve got fish in a barrel. By sending everyone home, at least you give students a choice as to how they’ll protect themselves. At least they get to have a say in their own destiny, which is the one thing our spring athletes were ultimately deprived of.
As for me, I have no team to coach this spring. We didn’t even make it onto the field for a single training session. Not one.
We had a team meeting today. It’s the one we typically have in May where we talk about our commitment to one another over the summer. Except today is March 11th and preseason is still an eternity away. I opened by saying that it was the last time we would all be together as a group until August. I can’t explain how weird that is. And sad. Really freaking sad.
I’ve got a few days of office work to keep me busy, but after that… what? It’s like my entire purpose has been vaporized. No training sessions. No recruiting visits. No players popping by the office. Fundraiser? Cancelled. Community service event? Cancelled. Six-a-side tournament? Cancelled. Now there’s just a whole lot of empty. It’s like the summer vacation from hell.
In actuality, it reminds me of my Florida days, staring at the cone of Hurricane Whoever, waiting for her arrival, wondering if she would change course, fingers crossed that she would miss us, and all we could do was sit around and wait. This thing is going to dominate my life for a while and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. And for whatever reason, stocking up on beer and ice doesn’t feel right for this one.
At least with hurricanes there’s a sense of adventure. It's a swashbuckling fight against Mother Nature. But more importantly, hurricanes have borders. There's a start line and a finish line and a comforting sense of finality. You won't have to battle it indefinitely. You know it’s coming, and you know that after it does its thing, it’ll be gone, and you’ll either have survived or not. So you hunker down and hope for the best and in a day or two, you know the result. You lived or you died. Your house stood or it didn’t. But not now. Not with this thing. You can’t see it coming. You don’t know if it hit you until two weeks after its gone, you don’t know where it is now, and you don’t know where it’s going next. That’s a pretty formidable enemy. Wish I could get my forwards to attack like that.
It’s easy to laugh at this mystery virus that shares its name with a beer. I’ve done it myself. I’ve seen the memes. But there’s also this sense of looming dread that I just can’t shake. Right now, as far as I know, it hasn’t touched me. But the thing is, nobody has coronavirus until they have coronavirus. So just for some good karma, I’m going to cut back on cracking wise and stop jamming to R.E.M.'s End of the World. I’m going to show this thing a little respect and hope that just maybe it returns the favor.
I hope this goes away soon. I hope you and your loved ones stay safe.