Covid Protocols and Tennis

There are Rules

My kids (the older 2) are pretty strict about Covid protocols in general. When playing tennis with others, we were following the Official USTA Rules. The rules say “Bring your own can of balls and ONLY touch those. Don’t touch any other set of tennis balls”. The invitations to play tennis also included these guidelines.

Ignoring the Rules

So I show up to tennis and NO ONE is following the rules. Some people have masks on, but there is certainly not 6 feet between people. It’s barely different than normal behavior. I do my best to stand apart, but it feels really awkward.

When I tell people that I want to follow the rules and isolate my tennis balls, I get a few odd looks. Then the match begins and people keep touching the balls I opened for myself. It’s impossible and I start getting annoyed. They are annoyed by me and I am annoyed by the whole situation. I honestly started considering quitting tennis until the rules change.

Political Tennis

Some people think that I am following the rules because I am a progressive. I imagine a chart of political affiliation vs. people who actively ignore Covid safety protocols. Clearly Republicans would be flouting the rules more often, but in my experience on the court, almost everyone (of every political leaning) was ignoring the rules.

I asked one particularly progressive person why they were touching the balls. They said, “It’s just too much. I can’t.” I am not judging them, but I think that it says alot about human psychology.

I think it’s important to avoid politics in situations like this. Tennis is not about your politics. It’s exercise and fun. When it becomes political, then you end up limiting who you play with. In my opinion, there is no place for politics on the tennis court.

I wish that Covid protocols weren’t so political. The virus doesn’t care what your party is. It doesn’t care if you support abortion rights or not. The virus just gets inside you and tries to kill you.

What would make people change?

Interestingly, Covid effects are pretty simple. You get it and experience one of the following:

  1. Nothing, you feel fine
  2. You get a little sick (this happened to Trump) and then recover
  3. You get REALLY sick, but stay at home and then recover
  4. You die

That’s it. One of those 4 things. Imagine if the effects were different. Such as:

  1. Nothing, you feel fine.
  2. You are paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of your life (like Polio)
  3. You go blind for the rest of your life
  4. You have facial scars for the rest of your life (Like PoxVirus)

Imagine that is what Covid did. People don’t fear a small chance of death. They fear a small chance of deformity! Covid isn’t taken seriously, because we aren’t afraid of dying. When did humanity stop caring about death?

This may sound cynical or morbid, but it is fascinating to me how people’s brains work. Right now, the following can easily happen:

  1. You go to a restaurant and catch Covid (with no strong effects)
  2. You go visit your parents and infect them (with no strong effects)
  3. They visit their neighbors and infect them
  4. One neighbor (Sally) dies

You might not even realize that you were the cause of that person dying. Now imagine the same scenario, but when you got to the restaurant there was a sign. “If you eat here, please be aware that Sally will be dead in 10 days because of you”. Imagine you had to hit Sally in the heat with a hammer and kill her just to eat your food.

1,016 people died yesterday from Covid. 227,697 have died so far in the United States. Every one of them died because someone just had to go to the restaurant or bar, or because they wouldn’t wear a mask or whatever they thought was important.

Back to Tennis

Anyway, my oldest son thought of a new protocol for tennis that would make it much easier to play. It involves an insane amount of hand sanitizer. I think I applied it 20 times in one match. But it was a little easier to play and felt less awkward.

I can’t make people follow protocols. I don’t know what I can do. Will this post help? No. But I don’t think it can hurt either.

A Better Future

if we just invested heavily in testing and contact tracing, this national nightmare would end. Other countries have done this. People get tested every day. What the hell is wrong with us that we don’t do this obviously good thing?

We can do all the things we want. We can have indoor events. We just need daily testing of everyone and contact tracing.

Please vote next week. Vote for actual policies that make our collective lives better.

Whatya think?