Revolution next
WRECKORDER - Ferdinand G.S. Guilde (The Freeman) - May 21, 2020 - 12:00am

Maria Sharapova retired too early. If sports get back into action despite corona, its new landscape could have been ideal for the ice queen. No handshakes, hugs or kisses at the net, gestures she would never have done, but had to, in the name of sportsmanship. Not that she is rude, it’s just the way she is, cold and distant who does not know how to fake a smile. A voluntary isolate, she need not be quarantined.

It’s not surprising though. She made her intentions clear in the women’s tour – win matches, not new friends. She didn’t fraternize with other players outside court, not even in the player’s lounge where they could have shared niceties or notes about business, family, fashion, dating or ugh, world peace.

But who needs friends when you have fame and fortune? She earned millions of prize money largely from her career slam plus one more major clay title. Yes, she retired complete, except that she failed to rival the supremacy of Serena Williams, her supposed rival. But she got richer outside the court via million dollar endorsements because of the way she looks. A few can have it all, millions nothing at all. Somebody said life is not fair, but still good. But to the lucky few, it is both.

With no cure or vaccine in sight, prudence massively changes sports administration. Athletes should be tested shortly before competing and any interval of time means mandatory quarantine from testing to playing, no in between. Otherwise, contact sports like boxing, judo, karate or wrestling become viral host. Or should non-distracting protective gear be devised? How it impacts performance is another issue. The transition is not easy.

Ban on mass gathering means no more live audience, football amidst deafening silence. It will never be the same again. In team sports where the ball changes hands, it needs to be disinfected or replaced every timeout or quarter. Even then, basketball players collide rebounding or stealing the ball, or volleyball players ram body parts saving the dying ball. Proximity is the new enemy. Where before some demanded personal space, now it’s a universal necessity. The use of contraceptives to reverse over-population may make sense after all.

Non-contact sports are not spared either. Track lanes are too close for social distancing standard, but adjusting them costs space and millions. Swimming lanes aren’t any farther from each other, but maybe chlorine in the pool drowns the crown. And how do we temper winners who scream at the top of their lungs and spit out droplets? Loopholes everywhere.

Whichever way it is, let’s listen to health experts, not quack doctors who now abound – fake news authors or peddlers, or some politicians who decide without or despite scientific basis. The virus is apolitical.

But just like any crisis, it takes out the best and worst in the human race. One of a few good things the virus brings is how it dictates dating patterns and casual encounters. If an effective way to avoid contagion is to treat everyone a carrier, no high-risk groups are discriminated against. No more usual suspects, everybody is, regardless of work and lifestyle. Don’t talk to strangers no longer warns harm, it already is. 

Due in part to rubber use, the threat of HIV didn’t change much about human sexual behavior. But the crown will, by force of circumstance. A faceless virus antiquates random sex, not the dogged efforts of suspecting partners who so dread it, real or imaginary. Welcome fidelity. Not welcome back for others who didn’t have any.

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