Tuesday 18 August 2020
After weeks of discussion about how they could continue playing sports in the face of an unabated pandemic, the University of Georgia is now scheduled to play Auburn on October 3 in their first home football game of an unusual SEC-only season. Theoretically, I have a ticket. At least, I paid for one back in February.
While they have announced that all attendees will have to wear face coverings "over the nose and mouth" while entering, leaving, or moving through the stadium, the University has yet to announce any actual plan for dividing the 93,000 seat Sanford Stadium into socially distanced sections. There are about 58,000 season ticket holders and nearly 20,000 student tickets per game in a usual year. Obviously, the stadium will seat far, far fewer than that this year. I imagine that only the richest donors will get seats for all
5 games, but I can't imagine why they would want them.
(My bad. There are only to be 4 home games. What would be the 5th home game is the Florida/Georgia game, still scheduled to be played in Jacksonville.)
That first football game is still six weeks away. Since the start of this mess, there has been no six-week period with an overall decline in cases in America. Students have only this week returned to campus, so the inevitable explosion in COVID cases is still on the horizon. What will things look like that first October weekend? Based on recent history, it can't be anything good. In fact, Georgia Tech has just declared Georgia to be the state in the Union in which a person is most likely to be exposed to the virus. Whoo-hoo! Let's play some ball!
I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.
Go Dawgs. Go home. Football will still be there once we're all healthy enough to play it.
UPDATE 2020-08-19: I woke up this morning to find an email from UGA Athletics informing that I am to be granted the opportunity to attend 1 home game not of my choice. Alternately, I can opt-out of attending any games and either A) transfer my donation to help fund the skyrocketing costs of the university's attempts to play games during the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic or B) be refunded my 2020 donations "before the end of the calendar year." I think you can guess which I chose.