Entry prior to my shift at work includes a thermal scan and an offer for a mask. I do not wear a mask at work. The presumption is that one or both of those tactics will be employed when sports open back up to the public.
I do not wear the mask at work because I am too macho or worried about my beard but because the social distancing measures in place at work rarely put me in a situation where I could reach out and touch someone, never-mind being breathed upon. This fosters a feeling of security.
This feeling of security gets lost attending a public sporting event simply due to the very nature of the gathering. When you attend a sporting event, you are there to socialize with your guests and generally end up socializing with all those around you. In a sports atmosphere high-fives and handshakes to complete strangers are completely normal. When was the last time you used hand sanitizer after giving out a row of high-fives to celebrate a score?
The Facebook Group “Edmonton Eskimo Empire” had a recent poll where the question was asked “If we had a season and fans were allowed to attend would you￼ go?”. One of the poll options was “I would go only if I did not have to wear a mask and I could sit in my Season seat that I pay for“.
10% of participants chose this option clearly stating that their own views on this pandemic supersede their love of attending live sports. The how and the why of refusing to attend a sporting event because of having to wear a mask and/or adhere to social distancing rules smacks of nothing more than ego.
I get it, some people think the Corona Virus is a hoax. “It is just a damned cold being overblown by the media.” I was one of those people until Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz (effectively) shut the sports world down by testing positive for the virus. That is when my mindset changed! If athletes, who are in far better physical shape than myself, can be affected by “this cold” then maybe I should be taking this seriously.
My worry about “catching the virus” is not about the death rate. The concern is the spread rate of COVID-19.
“re·spect – due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others”
Alberta Health Services has mandated the maximum crowd at an event be 100 fans. I am wearing a mask to tonight’s Real Canadian Wrestling event not because I am afraid. I am wearing a mask to respect the concerns of the other 99 fans in attendance. Granted face masks are not the be-all and end-all of safety when it comes to being in a group but it is a simple gesture which is a show of respect towards others around you.
The tweet above encapsulates most of the sports headlines from yesterday. Admittedly though this does not slow down my desire to attend local sporting events if the athletes, as a group, are healthy enough to allow the return of sport.
Locally, Castrol Raceway has slowly opened up for business following strict social distancing policies. Rugby Alberta, Alberta Lacrosse, and Baseball Alberta have all released their “return to play” guidelines. FC Edmonton has resumed soccer activities in a small groups as we all await what the Canadian Premier League decides to do with their schedule. The Edmonton Stingers and the Canadian Elite Basketball League are trending toward a single site scenario. The Edmonton Eskimos and the CFL are mired in the struggle for logistics of a return.
All these leagues are working so hard to come back for you but you won’t go see them because they might force you to wear a face mask and sit apart from your crew? Sometimes this thing called adulthood forces us to make tough decisions. Putting on a face mask to attend your favourite sport should not be a difficult choice.