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Kennedy: Missing sports, socializing, thankful for Hogan as we try to get through this crisis

I hate to be a complainer, but in this case you may feel free to send me some cheese to go with my whine.

As a sports junkie, the lack thereof is really getting me down. I understand the necessity of postponing and canceling of athletic competitions, but normally at this time of year I'm in my glory watching exhibition baseball games from Florida, the final weeks of the NHL season with the Caps gearing up for their playoff run, NCAA tournament basketball, the Frozen Four, and the regular season lacrosse and baseball games. Oh, what is a poor sports junkie to do? The replays from earlier in the season or previous seasons don't quite fill the void.

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I’m not a subscriber, nor do I have the know-how or equipment to get programming from netflicks or hula (sic) or any of the other such places, my entertainment options are a bit limited. I am provided some 200-plus channels on my satellite system, but at least 50 of those I would prefer not having to pay for — but that’s a subject for another time — and there are quite a few others that only pique my interest on rare occasions and I wouldn’t miss if they weren’t there. So since the sports channels have gone dormant, for all intents and purposes, I’m left to spend my TV time with the news, cooking shows — as long as they’re not the ones that make cooking or baking some sort of insipid competition — home improvement and remodeling shows, and nature shows, especially the ones about Alaska since I got to go there a while back and was totally taken by the state.

By and large, I think that the mainstream media have done at least a reasonable job of keeping us all informed on the latest breaking news and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic. The one exception to that would be Fox News, which continued to downplay the seriousness of the rise in the number of cases and deaths from this virus for weeks. Some of their commentators even made jokes about those who had come down with the virus. I’m positive that Fox’s attitudes were directly a result of the president failing to understand and pay attention to those who are involved in trying to stem the tide of this pandemic. For weeks he downplayed what the rest of us were becoming aware of and were understandably worried about.

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Thankfully, our Republican governor paid close attention to his medical experts and made rational and decisive decisions on the course that our state would take. He was, and remains, calm and reassuring, and as forthright and informative as he can be at every one of his daily press briefings, even though things are continually changing at a rapid pace.

His reactions to the growing pandemic were in stark contrast to the self-serving and misinforming briefings that Trump has given. He often goes off on unrelated tangents and concentrated more on the stock market than on the deteriorating health of citizens. In just the last couple of days has he acted somewhat presidential, and under some duress I’m guessing, has made decisions that should have been made long ago. I do find one thing a bit curious though. Trump has directed that there be gatherings of no more than 10 people, and that they should be at least 6 feet apart in order to prevent the spread of the virus. However, for each one of his press briefings, there are usually more than 10 people standing shoulder to shoulder behind him. A case of do as I say, not as I do?

As one who is part of the most vulnerable population group, I try to do what I can to keep from getting the virus, but I balk at becoming  a prisoner in my own house. I am a very social being and as such I look forward to, and greatly enjoy, my interactions with my family and friends. Since the restaurants are all shut down, our usual group of between 10 and 20 won't be gathering at a local establishment for a pleasant Friday dinner with conversation and laughter. We share our stories of what happened during the week and get empathy, or as needed sympathy, either of which is needed for our own mental health. The telephone and e-mail just don't cut the mustard in that regard.

In any case, listen to the experts and even if it is contrary to your desires, do as they recommend. Wash those hands! Be safe and stay well. By the grace of whatever deity you may pray to, we will come through this.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. His column appears every other Monday. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net

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