This is not a drill 2: Stay home
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - March 22, 2020 - 12:00am

Stay home. This is not a drill folks. Has the COVID-19 phenomenon sunk in? From the looks of it, NO. Can we look at what happened to China? What’s happening to Italy and Spain now? Do we want to follow along the same path? Exaggerating? Maybe, but the facts and numbers are out there. The number of Pinoys with COVID-19 are increasing and the deaths are following suit (we pray for their souls). And we haven’t even implemented an all-out program of testing nationwide. Those being tested are only those in hospitals for symptoms of Mr. COVID-19. The toughest part is that you and I could be carriers of the virus and we’ll never know it, even if we don’t experience the symptoms associated with it.

While it has totally taken all of us by surprise and has caught us flat-footed, it’s not the end of the world, and I believe there’s always a reason behind all this. It’s how we deal with this that counts most. If this were a real game (basketball, football, volleyball, boxing), the adversary has thrown at us an offense or a combination of punches that we have never seen before. Not on tape and in a real game. Scouting reports are useless at this point and the coaching staff is scrambling to cook up an antidote asap. The lack of information about what the opponent’s newfound play sets us back and we fall behind in the game. But there’s a lot of time left in the game and the shot clock of real life is cancelled. Sound familiar? Been there? Done that? Kaya! We call on the “never say die” spirit of Barangay Ginebra and the North Carolina State basketball team of 1983 under Coach Jimmy Valvano. So many times knocked down, but never counted out!

But this one calls for a united front across the entire country. And there is an abundant supply of information from experts and areas from which we can learn and pick up tips. Let me sum it up as simply as possible. COVID-19 has hit us hard like a thief in the night and he continues to do so as we speak. One of the best game plans is to assume that we are all carriers of the virus. In such a situation, the last thing that we want to do is infect others, right? Ergo, we stay home and avoid going to other places where there are many people. If all of us stay home, we minimize the chances of spreading the virus until it eventually gives up on us. Make sense? That is why there is a call to close down places and events that bring large crowds together. Among the more notable ones are malls, big stores, churches and big public events. How do you spell quarantine? S-T-A-Y  H-O-M-E.

And so what to do at home? Among the stories that pops out these days is the cannon ball experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He was literally hit by a cannon ball at battle and was sidelined for a long period of time. In sports lingo, he was injured, was operated on, and had to sit out a whole season while on rehab. While “undergoing rehab,” one book that was available to kill time was one on the life of saints. This experience totally turned his life around and the rest is history. His injury and extended period of “rehab” had a purpose and we are now seeing the fruits of his conversion. Now I’m not saying that we should all do a St. Ignatius, but the message is quite clear. Someone up there is asking us to slow down, take a break and talk to Him. Someone up there is sending us a big sign, telling us that we might have forgotten about Him. Someone up there is telling us to spend time with our loved ones. And the most important thing is that Someone up there is telling us this setback is temporary and can be beaten.

And so while at home, how about spending more time “chilling” with the family? Attending/watching the TV mass and praying the rosary as a family are “you’ll never go wrong” options. Missing physical action? You can always work out on your own. The internet has hundreds of work-outs that you can follow: from four-minute drills to 30-minute routines. The best thing about this is that you don’t need to dress up with fancy sports apparel for this (but some will still do so). And neither will you need weights from the gym. Have you seen those guys on Facebook doing squats while carrying their kids? Read a book. How many books have we bought but never bothered to finish reading? Guilty as charged here. Then for working people like us, work at home. Colleagues, office-mates and bosses are only a click away, thanks to technology. For some, it’s a perfect way to be distant from their bosses! Did you say always wear your ID?

Let’s not forget praying for and supporting those heroic front-liners who are in the line of fire. Doctors, interns, clerks, nurses, medical aids and hospital staff have been working “toxic” hours since this all started and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end soon. Let’s not forget those ordinary daily wage earners who live on a ‘no work, no pay” scheme. The corporate world is also doing their share, taking care not only of their employees but others affected by the crisis as well. Many others have stepped up to the plate in one way or another. The ball is rolling and let’s help make it gain momentum. This is not the time for criticism, petty quarrels, showmanship or pogi points. It’s time to man up, unite and work as a team. To borrow from the Southeast Asian Games theme, “We Win As One.” Stay Home. God bless the Philippines. Mother Mary, pray for us.

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