Flyovers, sports provide distraction, connection during pandemic

Mike KnaakColumn, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. JosephLeave a Comment

While it feels like everything has been at a standstill with the quarantine measures in place, life continues to go on. Many brave the risk of infection to go to essential jobs, care for their family and friends or wait anxiously for stay-at-home orders to be lifted so they can get back to work. College and high school seniors will graduate without the usual commencement and fanfare and enter an uncertain path ahead. While we all hope coronavirus will eventually be defeated in the future, I have found efforts to honor our healthcare workers with flyovers and measures to try and keep sports going are bringing hope and distraction during these hard times.

When I was younger, I was a huge fan of airshows and planes, so the sight of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds aerial display teams flying together over New York was an amazing sight to me on the news. There is just something about soaring at high speeds thousands of feet in the air that captures our imagination and inspires us in activities on the ground. I was especially excited then, to hear there would be a similar flyover by the Minnesota Air National Guard over St. Cloud Hospital. Seeing the planes and hearing the reaction from people I know across the area, it generated a buzz of anticipation and fun that was much needed in our current environment.

I can’t think of a better cause that the flights could honor either, than our dedicated healthcare workers. During the past few months, they have worked hard in conditions dangerous to themselves to ensure patients infected with Covid-19 are well cared for. Their sacrifice and dedication is an inspiration to us all and a tremendous service for our country. When this is over, we should remember everything they did and appreciate them for all they do.

The spectre of a return for sports is also starting to appear like a possibility. While we deal with Covid-19, I think sports can also be an important distraction for people who need something to take their mind off the present moment. I know I was highly invested in the virtual NFL Draft a couple weeks ago, doing my own research and discussing it with many of my friends. It was a great way to connect and have something fun to talk about after many weeks of quarantine.

Now, there is a smattering of sports across the world that are starting to reopen their doors. The Korean Baseball Organization now offers live games for ESPN viewers, UFC fights are being organized and NASCAR is going to resume their season with a race at Darlington this weekend. While I will never get used to seeing empty stands and participants wearing masks and enforcing social distancing measures for the teams, I know it is essential some of what we love about sports must be sacrificed so they can be done safely. With hope though, perhaps more leagues will be able to open back up and we can have another thing to stay occupied with while we stay safe at home or at work.

While these events of hope and fun bring some semblance of normal back to our lives, it is important we continue to stay vigilant and do our best to follow social-distancing rules. Though some businesses are finally able to open back up, the virus is not yet contained, as we’ve seen with the recent spread in our local area. If we want stay-at-home orders to be over soon, in the absence of a vaccine the best thing we can do is to stop the spread through our individual actions. I hope everyone can continue to stay safe, and that new developments allow us to have some fun and entertainment, while remembering the grave situation and the struggles many are going through at the moment.

Connor Kockler is a student at St. John’s University. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.

Author: Mike Knaak

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