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athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: Cornavirus? We’ve got games to play!

Dear Athletic Support: It seems like every time I turn on the television or check my Facebook page, there’s another sporting event cancelled due to the Cornavirus. Both of my kids are athletes, and we have multiple tournaments scheduled for the spring. So far, I’ve only heard rumors of their tournaments being cancelled, but I must say I am a little hesitant to pack my family into a gym or sit too close to the other parents in the stands. Am I overreacting at this point? Or not reacting enough? — Corna-fied Mother

Dear Corna-fied: With basically all major sporting events cancelled for the foreseeable future, your question couldn’t have come at a better time. Before I go any further, let me make one point clear: I’m not a doctor. I’m a former football player and coach. My family is, however, taking certain steps to remain safe. Here’s a look at our daily life:

Ours is a world of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. A fog hangs thick over our living room from an endless stream of Lysol spray. My 3-year-old daughter strips out of her clothes when she comes home from preschool, and anyone who wishes to hold our infant son must wash his hands (actually, scratch that; nobody’s holding little for the next couple weeks). We don’t go over to friends’ houses anymore, and our kids definitely aren’t going to be playing in the Chic-fil-A playplace anytime soon.

At this point, we’re wary too say the least, but we’re not holed up in a bunker surrounded by cans of green beans. My biggest worry is the panic that comes as a result of COVID-19 will do far more damage than the disease itself.

There are already reports of people around the country hoarding vast quantities of hand sanitizer, bottled water, and toilet paper. Some have even gone so far as to steal medical facemasks and other equipment from places that really need it, like hospitals.

This sort of behavior makes me worry far more than the actual virus. Even if this pandemic dies out sooner than expected, people’s reaction to it could cause far more damage than COVID-19. No matter what, remember we’re all on the same team.

Looking ahead, I’d be willing to bet your kids’ upcoming tournaments will get cancelled. Many schools across my home state of Arkansas have already begun to shutter their doors. If your forthcoming athletic events don’t get canceled, remember you still have a choice. Sports are important, sure, but as we’ve seen from the decision makers at both the collegiate and professional levels, nothing is more important than player safety.

And, please, don’t feel like your son or daughter’s athletic careers will be in jeopardy if they don’t play ball for the next couple weeks, or months (hopefully this all blows over by then). In the meantime, wash your hands and carry a few extra bottles of hand sanitizer, if you can still find any.

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Previous Athletic Support Columns:

Girlfriend getting in the way
A parent’s role when sports are over
Talk to your grandkids, carefully
At what age should sports stop being fun?
What ever happened to going door to door?
Lack of respect for track
Should my son take supplements?
I need your help
Help! My daughter wants to play football
Transferring to a smaller school: the good, the bad, and the ugly
What’s that smell? It’s not as bad as you think
A break from school but not from sports
Should a coach pray with his team?
Coach tells player not to shoot
Do nice guys (and girls) really finish last?
Coach cancels post-season awards banquet
No cellphones in the locker room!
Fake scholarship signing?
Withholding football as punishment
Sick and tired of losing
Late bloomer, a blessing or a curse?
Scholarship hopes dead, now what?
Is my son a butterfly chaser?
Don’t force sports on your kids
Hunting or Football?
Beat the Heat
Idle Hands
Coach’s son gets special attention

Published March 22, 2020

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