Practice self-isolation, only sport in town

“My, and a lot of other people’s favourite time of year is barren of joy.”

Horrible, horrible situation. My, and a lot of other people’s favourite time of the year is barren of joy.

Every sport is either peaking, or getting serious in early March, except baseball. And, for those of us with discernment, the beginning of baseball season, in March, is the best sporting news all year.

Basketball and hockey, at all levels, get serious in March. Snow sports world championships and curling championships are on, or quickly on their way. Motorsports are under way and feuds are developing nicely, in March. World soccer is approaching a title and big money crescendo in March. Even golf, with the Players’ Championship on and the Masters in the wings, can be interesting in March.

Spring begins in March – it is here, earlier than almost ever, actually. And baseball begins in earnest in March.

All gone, all gone, now. Well, not Spring, but you know what I mean.

As if that wasn’t enough, we now must, absolutely must, isolate ourselves from others as much as we can, so we cannot even get together to lament in company that it is all gone.

I shouldn’t need to emphasize that last bit, but I was in Rossland for a medical appointment Tuesday, and the downtown was bustling, a few businesses with lineups at their ordering and paying stations. Not the suggest behaviour right now.

I will tell you why. It is counter-intuitive, but the fact that the virus has mild impacts on many makes it more, not less, dangerous. A problem that incapacitates people quickly almost isolates itself. This Covid 19 thing allows many carrying it to circulate freely, unknowingly (one hopes) shedding the virus far and wide.

That means that people highly vulnerable to it – most of them need to travel outside their homes at times, too – are much more likely to come in contact with it. Between 10 and 20 per cent of the Canadian population has a compromised immune system. That’s a lot of people who are in danger because of the wide spread of itself the contagion allows.

Children, even relatively healthy ones, by the way, are not as invulnerable as some early prognosticators led us to believe.

So, stay away from close contact with each other. It is the only responsible thing to do. Slowing down the spread of the Covid 19 could mean our hospitals, never really underutilized, might be able to keep up with both the added work of saving virus victims and the heavy day to day schedule it is already handling. It could mean, too, that supplies will be sufficient to the tasks, rather than not.

It could mean, too, that you will not be responsible for the deaths of people who would not have died if we had all been a bit more responsible. Think about that. And this – multiple times as many people have, already, died of Covid 19 than died during the entire SARS crisis. And Covid 19 is just getting started, with no end in sight.

*Just a note on Henri Richard. Quiet, pleasant man who was a fierce and talented competitor and deserves every accolade he ever got.

What people may not know was how physically tough he was despite his small stature. Henri would be small in any era, tiny today, but he could hold his own, in any era, too.

I had a beer with long time NHL Referee Lloyd Gilmour a while back, and he told me a bit about the Pocket Rocket. According to Gilmour, he thought people kept their sticks in check around Henri because he was a fairly clean player, most of the time, a good guy, most of the time, and relatively tiny.

Some of that may have been true, but there was another reason. Gilmour used an example of a game he reffed. Apparently, a 22 year old, 6’2”, 200 pound plus Detroit Red Wing rookie defenseman got in a shoving match with Henri Richard, and when the gloves came off, his veteran linesman instantly jumped in to clasp the rookie and prevent the fight.

According to Lloyd, when he suggested the linesman was probably right in protecting the small icon, the answer he got back was, “That’s not what I was doing. I just wanted the kid to survive to play another game.” Wow, said Gilmour, and I when hearing the story. “I’ve never seen him (Henri) lose one, and he hurts people,” the linesman, who had actually played in the NHL, continued.

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