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March 21, 2020

O’Leary: Thoughts from a week like no other

Some thoughts from our first week into a new life of social distancing, conference calls and more FaceTime hangouts than I ever thought were possible:

The BC Lions are at the top of everyone in the CFL’s mind right now, after the team announced late Friday night that a member of its football operations staff has tested positive for COVID-19.

The team’s release says that the staffer was last at the Lions’ office on March 13 and is currently isolating at home. The club is communicating with team doctors to see what’s next for employees that have been in contact with the infected employee.

Everyone across the CFL and fans across the country hope for a speedy recovery for the person that tested positive and wishes the best for the Lions’ organization.

» Ambrosie issues letter to CFL fans
» Bombers prepping for draft in unprecedented times
» Fans join together to share their favourite CFL memories

It goes without saying that these are unprecedented, scary, trying, unique times, however you want to phrase it. I mentioned it when I (virtually) joined The Waggle this week: We’re living through history right now, dealing with something that we’d only seen in movies, one of those crazy what-if scenarios that made you appreciate the world you were walking back into after you left the movie theatre.

When we do go out — and we should be staying in as much as possible — the world is a little bit unrecognizable right now. Even going for walks at non-peak times of the day is guilt-inducing, regardless of how many things I read to reassure myself that it’s OK.

There are pangs of anxiety when I see other people walking toward me, the space that we give each other on sidewalks becoming the new smile and a nod. I think about where my hands are and how I can’t touch my face. We spend the majority of our time indoors and as nice as it feels to get some fresh air when I do venture out, there’s a pull to get back inside, to be safe.

I honestly don’t know how the doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, the teachers that are still being called into their student-free schools, construction workers, transit operators, the list goes on and on and on, are doing it. They deserve our gratitude and more (a pay raise is one thought; statues in front of their workplaces when this is over is another).

All of that said, there are still worse situations that we could be in. Our grandparents fought in wars and there are those around us every day that came to Canada fleeing conflict, famine and/or poverty. Our world’s been turned on its side in some ways, but there are things we can do to make the most of this situation.

I’ve done more conference calls for work this week than any other I can remember. That led to group chatting with the friends and family that I can’t see right now, which has proven to be a great new-life-hack. One of the highlights of my week has been watching my laptop screen light up with a group of friends on it and all of us cheering when we see each other. It’s not the same as actual face-to-face, but it helps to make us feel like we’re not that far apart. The world’s been forced to slow down and using that extra time to connect with friends and family has been a silver lining to this otherwise strange and dark cloud.

There’s a similar feeling on our site right now, too, with #HowICFL. Fans and players (current and former) have shared their best memories of the CFL online this week. Our Brodie Lawson has collected a lot of them in this post and you can check for fresher ones by searching the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

We’ll talk more football in my next post, but I’ll wrap up on this light (kind of) football note.

Tom Brady signing with the Bucs got the majority of the sports headlines this week but his former Pats teammate deserves some attention, too. There may be no other form of live entertainment that relies as heavily on crowd interaction as pro wrestling, so what you’re about to see is awkward and not to mention a lack of social distancing.

Stay safe, look out for each other and check in on those close to you that might be in need.