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Friday, July 10, 2020

FTM Sports Guy Column: I miss sports

What Sports Could Look Like in Coming Months

Facebook Photo. The Reds start the season July 24 against the Detroit Tigers.
Column by FTM Sports Reporter G. Michael Graham

A friend asked me just Friday how much I have missed the Cincinnati Reds this summer.

Saying a lot may not even hit the mark. I became so used to turning on the games in the evenings on the radio or on the television over the years. Just driving by Great American Ballpark several times per week and knowing the Reds have not been playing has been hard to stomach at times.

That will change July 24 when the Reds open the 60-game season against the Detroit Tigers at 6:10 p.m. at Great American Ballpark. Barring any changes under the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic, Cincinnati will face the National League Central Division rivals 10 times each.

Will fans be allowed to attend games? That remains to be seen like a lot of things. I attended six games last year and would like to go to at least two this year.

However, I do feel fans can attend as long as they do their part like governors and healthcare officials have been saying all along. That includes the usual wash your hands regularly and stay six feet apart.

Miami Dolphins President Tom Garfinkel revealed some plans for this season on a Good Morning America segment for home games at Hard Rock Stadium. Hard Rock has 65,000 seats, but the Dolphins have said attendance could drop to 15,000. Ushers would be in every aisle making sure people are physical distancing.

Garfinkel also said fans could order food from the seats and pick it up as opposed to forming lines. I like these ideas because crowded stadiums are big ways that this virus spreads.

Garfinkel also said face masks would be mandatory for fans. I know this has been a huge dividing point for our country in the last several months. But from what I've seen, the pros outweigh the cons.

I know there will always be exceptions. But I've been wearing them in public for the most part because I want to do my part to protect people around me. This will include games I cover this next season for Fort Thomas Matters.

At some point like everyone, I hope a vaccine is developed against it. Until that time, I am committed to do my part, especially after my 73-year-old uncle came down with it and stayed in the hospital then a recovery facility for a month. He even said he hard a mini-heart attack during the battle. He is doing fine. But we were scared for a moment because he was breathing at five percent on his own and 95 percent on a ventilator.

Months ago, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said anyone who wants to get tested can do so and Ohio just opened up to that. I did just that at the Atlantic Corporation Center in Erlanger on May 19 and I can gladly say I do not have the virus.

The testers put a cotton swab up both nostrils and moved around for a few seconds. I know people have different reactions to it. But mine tickled. However, it was worth it and I plan to do it again.

With all that said, what might that mean for high school sports in Kentucky for the 2020-2021 school year? Again, a lot is still to be determined. But the KHSAA Board of Control meets today (6-10) and more answers could come from it.

Highlands head football coach Brian Weinrich noted earlier this week that at the current time, guidelines say that balls must be wiped off when more than two people touch them. Let's say Player A and Player B are throwing back and forth, but Player C wants in on the action. The ball has to be wiped before Players B and C can throw to one another.

Soccer will probably see a lot of that as well even though the feet is the primary way to move the ball. I know mainly the goalkeeper touches the ball when stopping shots. Players also throw the ball in.

Doctors and health care experts are hoping a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed by the end of the year if not this spring. Until then, I will do what I love to do. But I will approach everything cautiously. If other people join me, the new normal may be over sooner than we think.

I just really miss sports.

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