Thanks, But No Thanks

October 5th, 2020

The venue at which the Tucson Basketball League is held is open for business...sorta'. They have limited activities and strict health guidelines. I stopped by yesterday (Sunday) and was happy to see some of the young staff back at work. Everybody who enters the building has to wear a mask at all times and has to have his/her temperature taken upon entry. You may find this interesting (or just weird): Other than getting a physical so I could play ball in college (way, WAY back in the day), I haven't seen a doctor for anything in more than 50 years. And I haven't taken my temperature in that same time span. 

Growing up, we were all told that 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was normal for human beings who were well. It turns out that that dates back to a study done by a German doctor in 1869. He took the temperatures of 25,000 people and then just took the mathematical average. The study should have noted that there was a range of "normal" temperatures, but somehow 98.6 just stuck. Not only that, the methods and instruments he used obviously weren't as sophisticated as what we have today. It also matters where the temperature is taken. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, "human temperature can be measured in the mouth, armpit, ear, or rectum. Ear and rectal temperatures tend to be half a degree higher than oral temperature. Axillary temperature, taken in the armpit, tends to be one degree lower."

Furthermore, human body temperatures have been declining over the past 150 years. Scientists postulate that it's because humans these days are, on average, taller, fatter, and they live longer. Today, the average body temperature is closer to 97.5 degrees. Age, time of day, and physical activity can also affect the temperature readings.

I read that article a while back, so I wasn't expecting my temperature to be 98.6. But neither was I expecting it to be 96.2! I'm a borderline lizard. 

Anyway, the venue is open but nobody is sure for how long that might be. A few months into the pandemic, various governmental agencies came up with guidelines for reopening businesses, schools, and gyms. These guidelines appeared to be fairly well thought out, but then political pressure--coming from mask-less gun toters in the streets to brainless people in the halls of power--caused these standards to go from strict to fluid to often non-existent. This is part of the reason that we'll almost-certainly still be dealing with this into 2021.

Recently, the Pima County Health Department started ignoring their own guidelines for re-opening schools, claiming that a recent spike in COVID cases could all be traced to the University of Arizona. If the spike continues, they may have to close the venue down again.

Theoretically, we could probably have a game or two right now. But everybody would have to have a mask on at all times. That means all players AND refs. There could be no fans and teams that are playing the 1:00 game would have to wait outside until everybody from the 12:00 games has left the premises. There would be other rules, as well, and while they all make sense, they also add up to a No, Thank You.

When we come back, Rob and I want it to be as close to what we're all accustomed to as possible. Even after we start back up, it may take a while to get all the way back, but we're definitely not going to be having games where people have to play with masks on. Part of it is that I ant to be able to clearly hear it when somebody says, "Tom, you SUCK as a ref!" That will be music to my ears.

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