Dear Athletic Support: We just started my daughter’s senior basketball season, but things are getting weird already. We’ve already had to cancel a game due to COVID, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The thing that I’m struggling with right now, though, is how some of the other parents refuse to wear masks when we’re in the gym. There are “rules” about this, but they don’t seem to matter. I overheard one parent the other night say that we all just need to “toss the masks.” This parent wasn’t wearing a mask, of course, and none of the school officials did anything about it. He just got to keep sitting there, spreading his germs all across the stands, and no one said anything to him. I was so upset I couldn’t even focus on my daughter’s game. I just kept cutting my eyes to the other parents (there were more than just this one guy) who refused to wear a mask. At this point, I’m flabbergasted that anyone could really think masks were the problem. We all want the same thing. We want our daughters to have a great senior basketball season, but the parents that won’t wear their masks are going to be the ones to cause it to come to a screeching halt!
—Wear Your Mask
Dear Mask: One of my favorite books of all time is Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this book, Mr. Covey explains what he calls a person’s “Circle of Control.” In short, your circle of control is what you can actually control. Seems simple, right?
Well, it should be, but most people’s “Circle of Concern” (another Covey term) extends much wider than their “Circle of Control.” In other words, it’s human nature for us to want to fix every problem, even the ones we have absolutely no control over.
Parents who refuse to wear masks are a problem you cannot control. So, please, don’t miss out on your daughter’s senior season by focusing on them instead of what’s happening on the court.
The only thing you might could do is seek out a school administrator — a principal, or maybe even the superintendent — and discuss your concerns with them. What they do after that conversation is once again out of your control.
But that’s it. That’s the only card you can play. Does this make the other parents who refuse to wear masks right? Absolutely not. I’m with you. They are the problem, but there’s nothing you or I can do to change their minds.
The thing we have to remember — regardless of whether or not someone is wearing a mask — is that we’re all still on the same team. I know I’ve said that before. But we have to. Now more than ever.
Because your daughter, my daughter, and every other kid on every other court in America, is watching. Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, COVID will be gone. When that day comes, what will our country look like? Will we come together like never before? Will we still be on the same “team?”
I hope so.
Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to email@example.com or use the contact page on elicranor.com.