It’s now looking like all the larger fall races are cancelled. The glimmer of hope that continued training would apply to these races is fast fading. There are some smaller local races still on the docket, but looking at the conditions under which they are being run makes it seem more like a time trial: start times are staggered; you are not expected to show until your start time and then exit immediately upon finishing; no water stops or course support. Not much different from getting a small group together for a time trial. At the same time, kudos to these race organizers for taking a stab at bringing things back. Our choice is whether to participate.
How much different is this than playing MLB games in empty stadiums? Time will tell if the safety precautions were sufficient. There has been a lot of chatter about the pros and cons of trying to have a season. One could take either side and make a strong argument. If we consider the fans, of which I am one, it is healthy to have the season get underway. Maybe it’s vicarious experience, but I’ll take some of that. From the players’ perspectives, they have options. One, they can opt out at any time during the shortened season if they are uncomfortable with anything. Two, these are athletes who have devoted their life to a game they love. Yes, most are very well compensated, arguably too much. But looking at the first four days of games, these guys are hungry for competition. Us recreational runners know that hunger too, albeit in a different sport and at a vastly different level.
A lot will be seen in the coming months. We really don’t know how long it will be before things truly open up again. Even with a vaccine there is a matter of production and distribution and the near certainty that it will not be universally effective. It may be quite a while before we feel safe to shake hands and do the many social things we’ve become accustomed to. Some days this unknown is downright depressing. In Vermont, we have it much better than most: a beautiful setting to enjoy with numerous outdoor activities and the lowest incidence of Covid-19 in the nation. Yet we naturally feel constrained at times, too. And concerned how the school year will start, now just a month away.
It feels a bit like riding a roller coaster; up, down, and jerked around. But jumping from the car makes no sense either. I really don’t like roller coasters — I’m somewhat terrified of heights and the rush from quick drops leaves me nauseous. What I like most is the last little turn back to the start — the relief the ride is over! With a bit of satisfaction that I summoned the courage to get on in the first place. With Covid, we had no choice. Our choice is whether to focus on making the best of it, to look at the bright side, learn new things, get to know those around us better than we ever expected to. Presumably, for most of us, this will all get better — with a return to near-normalcy. And when the coaster comes into the home chute, we will be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and feel some level of satisfaction that we stayed with it, kept our hopes up, and helped those around us get through the worst of it.