Watertown — Between suspending NHL games and postponing the North Country Goes Green Irish Festival due to concerns over the proliferation of COVID-19, what’s a guy with facial hair supposed to do to amuse himself these days?
The good news is that half of this particular conundrum has been resolved. After word spread that the Irish Fest wouldn’t be held this weekend at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown, Time Warp Tavern owner Ian Primmer announced he would host the Donegal Beard Growing Contest.
It’s not that I attempted to grow a Donegal beard, mind you. But who wants to see such finely crafted masterpieces go to waste?
The loss of hockey action, however, continues. When will it return?
NHL players have no doubt already begun working on their playoff beards. Will they ever get to show them off?
The NBA stopped its season, and the MLB will delay its opening. The NCAA first wanted to conduct its March Madness tournament in empty stadiums. But reason finally overcame officials, who canceled post-season play.
Perhaps the only sport safe enough to participate in is bubble soccer! Players are surrounded by plastic, so spreading germs is highly unlikely.
OK, these are some of the less serious issues regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic. Not being able to watch athletic events pales in comparison to the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of this condition.
Numerous people worldwide are scared they may become sick. Health authorities are worried about how many people will eventually be identified with the disease.
Investors have watched the financial markets tank day after day. Government officials fret that the uncontrollable outbreak will make them look really bad right before the election.
It’s alarming to see how quickly the list of canceled events gets lengthier.
The Masters golf tournament has been postponed; multiple St. Patrick Day parades are kaput; major cultural institutions have closed; travelers must rework planned vacations because of new restrictions. And worst of all if you play video games (which I don’t, but I know some people who do), the annual E3 conference scheduled for June 9 through 11 in Los Angeles has been nixed!
Putting all these events on the shelf is sobering. It raises the issue of where we’re heading and what kind of future we’ll confront.
The situation grows murkier as the hours tick by. As I’m writing this column Friday afternoon, a news alert declared that Louisiana has postponed its presidential primary from April 4 to June 20.
It’s only a matter of time until other states follow suit. Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio have primaries coming up Tuesday. Will any of these be put off for a few months?
New York’s primary is April 28. The folks who oversee this election must be fighting the temptation to pull the trigger. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a popular trend.
Caution is necessary when dealing with a virus we know so little about at this time. Yes, it’s like getting the flu. You’ll cough and have a fever and feel like crap for a while.
Most people will get eventually over it. That’s the good news here.
The bad news is that its mortality rate is substantially higher than that of the flu. So more people will likely die from the disease if they become infected. Those who are at higher risk must do whatever they can to avoid exposure.
So it stands to reason that some events need to be canceled. Getting large groups of individuals together invites spreading the virus in short order.
But that being said, we can’t let terror overwhelm us. We have to live our lives and carry out the daily tasks of moving society forward.
This means we’ll have to interact with others. That’s an unnerving prospect given that we don’t know who’s infected and who isn’t.
But when we start talking about delaying the electoral process as has happened in Louisiana, that puts democracy in peril. Some functions are too important to postpone because of our dread of this disease.
Engaging in life involves risk, and risks must be taken if we are to succeed. We all should be as careful as possible to prevent infection. But we can’t let fear put the world on hold.
While Donegal and playoff beards are nice, these are easy sacrifices to make. Far too many Americans have died, however, securing our access to the ballot. Even when we feel woozy and want to lie down, there are times when we must take a stand.
Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.