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Gary’s Blog: The Right Call

Well, it happened. Just when you thought this year has already given us every possible type of forgetful, life-changing and awful moments, we got another one yesterday.

I wasn’t surprised at the news that the Mountain West Conference decided to postpone all of its fall sports, especially football. I mean, didn’t we all see this coming? Maybe we didn’t want to believe it would happen, but now it’s official: no football games for the University of Hawaii or the 11 other schools in the MW. As depressing as this is, it’s the right move. I wish there was another way, but how? It’s not only the numbers going up here and in many other states; it’s also the fact that it would have been almost impossible to keep everybody safe, including people around the players and staff. You shouldn’t wait for someone to die as a result of college football. Do the right thing BEFORE someone dies.

I’m not going to count on football being played in the spring, either. Not yet. It’s way too early, for one thing, and I I won’t count on anything being back to normal until it happens. A couple of things I’m wondering about, however: As of now, it seems like the SEC, ACC and Sun Belt are going to play (again, this is as of today). How could those leagues justify playing when most conferences aren’t? I don’t see that happening. Remember in March, first it was the Ivy League shutting down, then the NBA after one player tested positive. Within 24 hours, every other college and pro team shut it down as well. I see the same thing happening with the few conferences that are going to attempt to play. Don’t fight a losing battle, it won’t happen, it can’t happen, it shouldn’t happen. Not for a while. Remember, the key word here is “vaccine.”

The other part of this is that some players who want to play, like Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, bring up an interesting point: They say they’ll be safer being watched and taken care of by their respective universities. They say, if left on their own, they’ll be exposed to more people and have a better chance to catch the coronavirus. Nice argument by the players, but it doesn’t convince me. These guys are young adults who know what’s right and wrong. Millions of others have to live every day in a way that they won’t get sick. The players should be in the same situation. They know the protocols and procedures, what to do and what not to do. I like that they want to play, but if some players get COVID while playing football, those players won’t be saying it’s safer on a school team then on their own. Then they or their parents will be blaming the schools for having them play. To me, these universities owe it to the players to watch out for their safety and well being. It’s going to be hard to convince anyone that they’ll be safer playing football than not.

We are in mid-August, and I was hoping by now that we’d be closer to normal in more areas. Like air travel or having everything reopened. I wrote in May and June that in a couple of months I hoped that sports will be back, and mostly normal. I said Football might not be affected. We see how that went. But again, the NBA and NHL have done it right, and both should make it straight through to their league championships in October.

I also wrote about how I hoped air travel would be near normal by now. This week, I cancelled my fifth mainland trip since March. Labor Day weekend will be number six. But what I ended up doing for the first time in over 15 years, I had a staycation. I went to Waikiki and stayed at the Waikiki Shores. What a place! Great location, great views, great price, etc. This is the first time I’ve been to Waikiki since January. I knew it might not be crowded, but WOW! For two nights I walked around, and 95% of all restaurants and stores were closed. Almost no one was walking the streets or beach. I’ve never seen it like this. And it hit me all over again, the feeling that this world we live in is going through so much, it hasn’t really slowed down. It’s gotten worse here and in other areas. Part of me wants to believe that things are getting better, that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. But not after being in Waikiki for two days, and it being so quiet and empty. Wow, seeing this was a wake-up call, and making me think it’s a good thing I haven’t gone on any of those mainland trips.

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