Masketball: Colorado prep hoopsters must wear masks (now isn’t that silly…)

School kid with mask and basketball ball in a physical education lesson. Safe back to school during pandemic concept. Social distancing to fight COVID-19

First off, you mask it!

Then sink, the basket!

Goooo Team!

Taaaake State!

 – Overheard at Anywhere High, Colorado, USA

You can hear that from the cheerleaders because, you know, they don’t have to wear a mask.

The basketball players they’re cheering for, however, will be masked up. Not just on the bench. Not only in the locker room. No sir, ma’am, Mr. or Mrs. – Colorado’s high school basketball players will be wearing masks for every fast break, dribble-drive, three-pointer, slam dunk and block-charge this season.

If, that is, they want to play hoops for their school in this dum-dum state.

Yesterday, it was announced as part of the state’s variance to allow “Season B” sports to be played up (and moved up from the original start date), that student-athletes competing in basketball and ice hockey would be required to wear masks throughout all phases of competition. Those who compete in wrestling, swimming, skiing and spirit, however, will only be asked to wear mask while on the sidelines. It was later decided that ice hockey would not be required to wear masks.

Huh?

The ridiculous and nonsensical nature of the Colorado state health department knows no bounds.

Add this decision – right behind all the crippling restaurant rules, the classification of liquor and pot shops as “essential” and church, sports and concerts as “dangerous” – as the latest head-scratcher. As if Colorado’s high school athletes haven’t been put through enough this past year…now this.

And before this rant continues, let’s get one thing straight: Don’t pin this on the Colorado High School Activities Association. They’re just following the rules, as silly as they might be. After all, that’s the only way kids in Colorado can play at all. A source very close to the situation recently told me that this most recent condition – hoopsters wearing masks – is “100 percent a decision from (the) CDPHE” – as in, shoved down the throats of the CHSAA and the schools it represents.

Translation: This is just another mind-boggling requirement from the clowns making decisions at the state level, another instance where the science is anything but scientific, one more example of how wishy-washy the rule-makers have been throughout an entire pandemic.

“You can’t play football! You can play football in the spring! Oh wait, you’re upset? Now you can play football!”

This is not about caring whether or not basketball players get different or special treatment compared to other athletes. No, no, no – it’s a plea.

Please, please, please; help me make sense of this.

Apparently, the state health gurus just really don’t care about wrestlers. Of all the sports where germ swapping seems inevitable, wrestling has to be near the top. Wrestlers can’t maintain six inches of social distancing much less six feet; the only thing thinner than a mask is a wrestling singlet. Why then, is wrestling a sport that doesn’t require a mask? Now, obviously, wearing a mask in the sport of wrestling isn’t very feasible. There’s too much contact for a mask to stay put. But if COVID-19 is so dangerous that basketball players must wear masks, perhaps it’s just too dangerous to wrestle at all. I’m not advocating for that, just posing the obvious dilemma.

And speaking of not being safe, how is it that the poor cheerleaders can do what they do in the same gym as the basketball players, but do it safely without a mask? All that huffing and puffing, dancing and cheering, lifting and catching – hey, it’s safer than basketball. Got it? Got it.

By the way, how did hockey somehow reverse the original decision? The game is played on ice, y’hoser. That’s safe, eh? Which pot-hole-ignoring politician’s kid plays high school hockey?

Besides, you’re telling me that the possible cause-and-effect of wearing a mask in a basketball game is safe? It’s a highly cardiovascular game, and for anyone whose played it, the real risk of wearing a mask becomes exhaustion. And with exhaustion comes the risk of injury. Ask any athlete at any level of any sport in any state if they’d rather injure a knee or ankle or catch the Rona; I’d be willing to bet the results would be near unanimous.

In Virginia, one of the few states that’s also requiring high school basketball players to wear masks (this is not the norm), some coaches have even considered trying to push the pace early in games simply to tire out an opponent, because, you know, not being able to breathe normally can do that. Masks? A strategy? That’s so Twenty-Twenty…one.

Very few states in the country require masks to play high school basketball; Colorado, in its infinite COVID wisdom, is one.

Another thing: How is it that a high school basketball player in Colorado is any more susceptible to catching the virus than a college or pro player? Sure, the pros have some fairly sophisticated tracking and testing capabilities (and yet they still catch it), but you can’t tell me that colleges – particularly small colleges – are on top of this stuff anymore than high schools. Kids will be kids, and unless colleges are testing and tracing every few hours, there’s hardly a guarantee. If they’re going to let ‘em play, well, just let ‘em play for crying out loud.

And another, another thing: You can’t seriously expect a high school kid to keep a mask on 100 percent of the time during a basketball game. Intentionally or unintentionally, the idea that a player keeps the mask on, properly, covering both nose and mouth, is a joke. The average workout warrior can’t keep a mask entirely secure while jumping rope for 30-seconds; there’s no way a kid playing a contact sport can do it either. This is all just pomp and circumstance.

“This is just stupid,” one anonymous coach said. “But I guess if we want to play…”

Want to know what’s going to happen?

Kids near and far will or won’t get sick. And high school hoops will serve as a fraction of a fraction of the reason why (or why not). They’ll catch it at parties, chess club or the mall. Or they won’t.

Like restaurants far and wide, high school sports are going to be killed by the idiots in our state government. By using anything but common sense, state officials will busily and pointlessly ruin a good thing. Just as restaurant owners decided they had no chance at making a dime while operating at 10 percent capacity, outside, in the freezing cold, high school basketball players and their parents will decide that a handful of games for Be True to Your School High could easily be replaced by playing a full slate for Junior’s club team, which, by the way, is regulated by absolutely nobody.

“Why bother with this nonsense?” they’ll ask.

And Junior will turn in his high school uniform and go play for the club basketball team.

Or maybe he’ll decide to wrestle.

Apparently, that’s safer.

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