Covid: Lessons Learned, A Ways to Go
I'll admit it.
On more than one occasion over the past year I've crawled out of my car only to forget my mask. Rooting through the half-dozen masks collecting beneath my infotainment system, I grab one, put it on, and quietly curse that I still have to wear this thing.
Like all of us, I'm tired of Covid. I'm tired of being home-bound. I'm tired of talking to my players through a face-mask, because they have a hard time knowing when I'm joking and when I'm being serious.
But ... we still have a ways to go.
This morning's Washington Post Covid tracker grows grimmer by the day. 485,000 dead, and counting.
And on the front page, the sobering story of Kaitlin Denis, a former Division I soccer player who is entering her second year of living with Covid. She compares her symptoms to living in the fog of a concussion 24-hours a day, everyday.
While we are all anxious to get back to life as normal, to sports as normal, Denis' lesson should be a stern reminder to those who insist that youth are essentially immune from catching the disease or being adversely affected by it.
It's true that those most likely to die from Covid are over the age of 50.
However, fully half of all infections are in people under the age of 39.
And the fact is we simply don't know about the long-term effects of Covid on people. The Mayo Clinic states it plain: "Much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time."
We do know that Covid affects much more than the lungs. And that people like Denis suffer the fallout from Covid for months after initial infection.
There is good news in all of this, however.
The vaccines are coming. Again, not at the speed any of us would like, but we are making headway. It's critical, however, that we not let our guard down even after we have the vaccine. Read these important guidelines about what we do and don't know about vaccines and how long they're effective.
Coaches Have a Role to Play
It's understandable that parents of student-athletes themselves are over Covid. They want to play. The want to get film as they prepare for college recruiting. And they just want to be with their teammates again.
Now is the time, however, that coaches must take the lessons that they preach to their athletes and apply them to their players, their players' families, and the community at large.
Discipline is key. Learning to win is all about remaining disciplined and focused. A wrestler can have a great match for 2:50 seconds of the first period, but break focus and he'll probably be flipped and lose. A football team whose players try to do too much on their own, instead of trusting their teammates to do their jobs, will be exploited and most likely lose. We can sense the end is coming, the end zone, if you will, is near. But now it's more important than ever to stay disciplined and focused.
Team. The word gets thrown around a lot, but good coaches know that it has many layers and is integral to building a winning culture. Our battle against Covid is not just about any one person, it's about all of us. When you make decisions about protecting yourself and protecting others, never forget that we're all in this together.
Sacrifice. There is an adage in the military - all sacrifice some, some sacrifice all. When battling a pandemic, we all must sacrifice. It won't save all, but taking a selfish approach to Covid will ensure that too many will sacrifice all.
Now more than ever, we must all dig deep, for all of us.