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Much Ado About Something

March 17th, 2020 by Kenneth Abrahams

To take the stance that the current climate surrounding Covid–19 or the Coronavirus is much ado about nothing, would be misguided and wrong. Clearly, with 4,000 plus deaths worldwide, it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. Earlier last week, I was listening to talk radio and they were, of course, discussing the outbreak and the response in Massachusetts and taking calls regarding whether the Boston Marathon should be run this year. At this point, most of you know that it has been postponed until September 14th.  What a caller said pushed me over the edge, a place I have been teetering on the last few days. She said that runners have been training for months and that to cancel the race would be an incredible slap in the face. 


Trust me, I get it. I have friends and family members that have trained and run the race in previous years. I know some that are running this year. In the overall scheme of things her outrage seems to be misplaced. While I am sorry that the runners have trained for this and may not get to compete; that this is their one and only shot at this. But they are far down on my list of people that I feel badly for in this health crisis.


Let’s start with those that have lost loved ones. Parents have had to bury their children. Children have had to say a permanent goodbye to their parents. People have lost aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, siblings and spouses long before their time here should have ended. Please let me spend a little more time grieving for them than someone that has trained for months to run a race.


Thousands of those that run this race do so for charity. They have worked hard to get on a team to get a bib to support hundreds, if not thousands, of worthwhile charities. Much of their fundraising comes in at the end and that will be harder if there is no Marathon. Not only does running in the Marathon raise money but just as important, it raises awareness. Spectators along the route see the colored shirts displaying messages of hope and loss that may lead them to donate to a cause, give blood, or volunteer their time. All of that is lost if the marathon is canceled. More time will be spent, by me and others, thinking about the donations that will not be made and the loss of awareness that these organizations may never get back, then gnashing our teeth over someone that didn’t get to run this year.


More and more colleges deciding to end the year by having students leave campus and learn remotely is increasingly troubling. Some of these kids are first generation college students who have worked hard to get to a school.  Students whose parents have scrimped and saved in order to afford it, may now be deprived of seeing those kids walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. My sympathies go out to those who are seniors this year. Students who were looking forward to senior week activities. Not only do they not have a last chance to be with friends and fellow classmates, but they will not be able to even bid them a proper farewell. They will never have that opportunity to be together as a class for one last time.


Student athletes at all levels, not just Division 1, have had tournaments, championships and their very seasons ripped away from them, all shut down out of the blue.  Graduating seniors will never again step on a court or field proudly wearing the colors of their college or university. Maybe I shouldn’t but I feel more for them than those runners who have put in months of training for the Boston Marathon. 


Businesses large and small will feel the effects of the Coronavirus for months, if not years, to come. Some will undoubtedly not survive the devastating loss of revenue. We have all heard about what this has done to the airline industry but there are so many more industries that are going to be affected. People brush off how this will affect a Hilton or Marriott corporation and I understand that, they are giant companies whose stock may take a hit. But what they seem to forget is that these companies are made up of people.  Some of whom are making minimum wage or slightly more than that cleaning rooms, waiting tables, keeping the lights on and the toilets flushing, they may be laid off or have their hours restricted because there are no guests in the hotel. Due to that, they may have trouble keeping a roof over their heads or food on their table. My sympathies extend to them before it does to the woman who called into that show.


There is no disrespect meant for those that run the marathon simply to run. For some it is an annual event where they are able to connect with friends from all over the globe. Some have overcome injury to run, while others run with the memory of a loved one tucked literally or figuratively in their bib. Believe me, I do feel for them. They too have suffered loss.  However, in the grand scheme of things, if all they have lost is the opportunity to run this race, their losses pale in comparison to many others.


About the Author

Ken Abrahams is one of the owners of FUN Enterprises and like many of you is just trying to make sense of the place and time we are in.


Photo by sporlab on Unsplash