Who's afraid of the big bad...virus??
With the rapid spread of the new Coronavirus, "COVID-19", around the globe in over the past few months, it should come as no surprise that it's snaking its way through our country.
If you've not educated yourself on the subject, you can [and should] read all about it on the CDC's website because SCIENCE.
Before we dig in, let's keep a few things in mind:
Act like a good human.
Don't freak out.
Practice common sense.
Don't kid yourself and pretend like this can't/couldn't/won't affect you or someone in your family or community - because now it's not a matter of "if", it's a matter of "WHEN".
But what does this have to do with fishing??
Technically - nothing...
Except that there's a whole bunch of us around the country that have decided to keep fishing AND competing.
And although I'm not going to pretend like it's not in the back of my mind - especially after recently spending lots of time with tens of thousands of people last week - I'm also not going to stop going out on the water [for now].
Admittedly, you could probably argue that kayak fishing is probably one of the safest activities you can still do without much worry of being exposed, but it's a different story when we all get together.
If you're going to be competing at Lake Fork or Lake Norman, keep some things in mind...
First and foremost:
If you're sick with a fever, cough, shortness of breath - for the love of all that is holy - PLEASE STAY AT HOME!
No one is going to think you're being a "tough guy" by showing up, hacking all over everyone.
In fact, I'm pretty sure if you do show up in that state, people are going to judge you like the jerk that you are.
Do yourself and everyone else a favor - stay home, rest, and get well.
GOOD hand washing is one of the MOST common sense things you can do to help yourself, and those around you.
Alternatively, if you don't have soap and water nearby, and you're lucky enough to have access to hand sanitizer - USE IT!
Speaking of hands - now is the time to consider keeping them to yourselves.
I don't want to discourage good manners or shows of respect - but the less we're all sharing our germs right now, the better.
On the topic of "sharing" - we may want to consider skipping on the massive orders of food to share.
Don't get me wrong...
I freakin' love pizza as much as the next person - but everyone putting their paws all over each others food isn't a super smart idea right now.
If ya'll do insist on ordering pizza though - I'd suggest having one or a few [healthy] people with gloves on to dish it out.
It sounds kinda lame...
...But I'd rather be lame than sick...
Something to keep in mind if you're in one of the groups most at risk - Older adults and those with chronic health conditions - consider your options.
I'm not saying everyone should completely skip out on a big tournament without thinking, but if you're in an area where the virus is circulating, it's not a bad idea to take a minute to decide if the benefit is worth the risk.
Obviously, this is an entirely new situation for most of us.
Whether you think people are overreacting or not, the fact is that COVID-19 is here.
And viruses are a lot like fish...they don't discriminate...
So rather than panicking or stockpiling 3 years worth of toilet paper - simply practice good judgment.
Practice good hygiene.
Skip on the touchy-feelies...cause no one ever died from not getting a fist-bump.
Be considerate of others - just because you're not worried about yourself, you should keep in mind who you could endanger if you choose to interact with people while sick.
Learn about social distancing.
Have some extra supplies at home for yourselves and your families.
Consider your less-fortunate neighbors...even if you don't have the financial means to buy someone groceries - we all have the ability to bring home a few extra fish to put on someone else's table.
If our tournaments need to be adjusted or rescheduled, don't lose your mind.
If you become sick, don't show up for a tournament.
If you're part of an organization that has a "no refund policy", consider changing that rule to allow people who don't want to - or can't - attend future events.
At the end of the day?
There will always be another event - believe me...I would know.
I love fishing tournaments with all of you crazy, awesome people - so please make sure to take care of yourselves and your families!
And if you do find yourself stuck at home for a while, just remember...
You can always use that time clean and organize your tackle!!!
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