Friday, December 04, 2020


 That sharp pain I keep feeling in the middle of my back? That's America shoving me forward into the abyss. "C'mon!" America insists, "Time to get things back to normal!" 

At which point, I dig in my heels. There is nothing normal about an American dying ever one hundred seven seconds. Couple this with the fact that an American tests positive every 1.2 seconds, and you've got abby something. Abby Normal. A global pandemic that is not "just going away" as promised by a former president is responsible. And what is our response?

Play football.

Last weekend, my alma mater hosted the team from San Diego State. They Buffaloes played the Aztecs. Not because this was the game that would decide anyone's conference standing, or because tens of thousand ticket holders would be disappointed if the game was cancelled. The game was played because San Diego State lurched into the open spot in the schedule left vacant by the University of Southern California, who because of its high number of COVID-19 infections did not have enough scholarship athletes to field a team. So the Aztecs flew to Boulder with three day's notice and battled the scholarship athletes from the University of Colorado. 

The Buffaloes won. If it matters.

And somewhere in the middle of this shove toward normalcy, I sat on the couch wishing that I could hold still for it. We could all use a distraction from the rush of air that is the joy being sucked out of our lives at an alarming rate. But every wide shot of the stadium, with all those empty seats, brought me back to the reality of those numbers. The excitement of a touchdown pass or a goal line stand was diminished by the specter of all those fifty thousand empty seats. There have been plenty of "down years" where the football program at CU has not been able to pack them in. Sometimes the Rocky Mountain winter was to blame. Other times it was just bad coaching and play that kept people away. 

That wasn't it. There's a disease out there that is making it unsafe for anyone to come near. The following day, just up the road in Denver, an even more depressing spectacle awaited. The National Football League decided to go ahead with the scheduled tilt between the Broncos and the New Orleans Saints in spite of the fact that the home team had not a single prepared quarterback available due to coronavirus restrictions. So they promoted a practice squad wide receiver to lead the team to an ignominious defeat that saw young Kendall Hinton, who will forever be a trivia answer to the question, "What emergency quarterback threw twice as many interceptions as completions for the Denver Broncos?" To be fair, he only threw two interceptions. But that was enough. In front of seventy-six thousand empty seats. 

So here's what I have to say about that shove toward "normal." 

Back off. 

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