Life without football.
As ludicrous as that sounds to some people, we all need to get ready for it.
We’re not playing football this fall.
While coaches around the area and the entire country go through the motions of preparing for a normal autumn or even a disrupted one, it’s time we call this off. The NCAA, state governors and college and high school administrators are all coming to the same conclusion, and it’s not hard to accept.
The virus isn’t going away. There is no vaccine. We can’t play football.
This week, in a show of bluster common among old-school football coaches, LSU’s Ed Orgeron uttered something that was indeed ludicrous. He said “football is the lifeblood of our country.”
OK, so he was with the vice president at the time and probably trying to impress the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force with his intellect. But the statement echoed across Louisiana, which is one of the states experiencing one of the fastest growing surges in caseloads in America.
Football is not the lifeblood of this country. We can live without it. In fact, right now, we have to.
All across the South, as clueless coaches continue to plan for their season openers, scientists, epidemiologists, doctors and COVID-19 experts insist on no physical contact of any kind.
What about this are we missing?
Does anyone in his right mind think we’re going to unleash our children upon each other in two-hour contests of germ warfare? We’re going to let high school and college students slam into each other in a toxic cocktail of sweat, blood and spit and pretend it’s safe?
Stop it. It’s not happening. We’re better than this.
In Missouri, where parents and youth coaches have thrown their kids back onto playing fields, health officials now say a rise in coronavirus cases among youth aged 10 to 19 are the “primary source” of COVID-19 spreading into the community.
Colleges from Chapel Hill to Clemson to Alabama and yes, LSU, are reporting shocking numbers of positive cases among football players. And at fraternities across the South and in college bars across the country, outbreaks are being reported every day.
All this before the students even return to campus.
We seem frozen by an inability to do the right thing. In Guilford County, no one knew when or whether summer workouts would resume Monday until the dinner hour tonight, while school districts of comparable size managed to make their decisions earlier in the week.
It’s time the adults started acting like adults.
The NFL seems hell-bent on its players playing the role of guinea pigs if not lemmings, willing to die if not kill, to play football. We know what that’s about, and it has nothing to do with the health and welfare of the workers.
It’s about money. And television. And the odd assumption that Americans are all stupid football fans longing to watch their gridiron heroes on fields of glory.
Give me a break.
Colleges are afraid to admit that they’ve totally lost their souls to the athletics departments. And now they’re going to go broke because of football.
Look, we can play this in the spring if we get through winter without destroying our way of life. We can skip this season all together if it comes down to it. Colleges can then rebuild and restructure along fiscally responsible guidelines that don’t include coaches being the highest-paid employees in the entire state.
They’re just coaches. And football is just a game.
We can live without it.
It’s time for all these people making plans and statements about getting ready for the opener to pipe down. Common sense tells us we can’t play football this fall.
It’s time to stop listening to the liars and listen to the scientists. It’s time to admit that we can’t risk the lives of our best and brightest because we want to watch State play Florida State or Grimsley play East Forsyth.
We can wait. We don’t have the money to play high school football. Do you know how many buses it would take to move an entire high school football team from one county to the next and stay within state guidelines?
We don’t have enough test kits to play college football and keep small college communities safe and healthy. Do you realize how many times we would need to test these poor players just to know for certain the entire team isn’t infected?
We have the rest of our lives to get this right. It’s time we had the guts to stop this nonsense right now.
Stay home if you can. Stay safe if you can’t.
Get a grip. Get a life.
Wear a mask.
Not a face mask.
Contact Ed Hardin at 336-373-7069, and follow @Ed_Hardin on Twitter.