Life In The Streets: Are Sports Safe?

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At some point the world just became OK with wearing masks part-time as if the virus only applies…part-time.

This piece is the start of many conversations on how the general public is approaching playing sports without quarantining. For me, the starting point is: What’s the point of wearing a mask inside of a grocery store or at a restaurant if no one self-distances elsewhere? Why wear a mask in some places, just to expose themselves and others later that day elsewhere? I see people DAILY who don’t think it’s important to social distance. For a few weeks I’ve seen people out playing basketball without quarantining whatsoever and that to me is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

Six-feet apart seems to be a thing of the past? The point of wearing a mask is to protect others, to protect your family. But for some, this doesn’t hold true. For some people, if the virus hasn’t affected them, then they feel as if it’s a hoax. They think wearing masks are stupid and pointless. When they see government officials and leaders of a higher office not wearing masks, it’s not real to them. Go figure. I wonder if bodies piling up in the streets would convince them otherwise.  Like, SERIOUSLY.

Probably not, but here’s a basketball example that I believe the percentage of people that are maskless playing basketball in Manchester have bought into. In my next sports article, I get to answer this theory by chatting with the maskless ballers themselves. I think people in Manchester feel safe to play basketball in the streets because they saw Russel Westbrook contract AND recover from coronavirus in less than a month. Check this Westbrook story out below and then keep an eye out for my interview with local ballers coming later this week!

Superstar point guard Russell Westbrook was diagnosed with coronavirus Jul 14, 2020, 7:43 AM ET. On July 22, 2020 at 11:22 a.m., just eight days later Russell Westbrook clears protocol and re-joins Rockets’ practice!

Russel Westbrook, July 22nd, 2020 at 11:22 a.m. eight days after coronavirus announcement

“I tested positive for Covid-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando,” Westbrook wrote on an article from “I’m currently feeling well, quarantined and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared. Thank you all for the well-wishes and continued support. Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!” Says Westbrook.

So back to my hometown issue of local residents who don’t have the luxury of the 450 players that occupy the NBA. These men are employees to their respective city’s teams and receive a salary much, MUCH higher than the average American. So understanding that we local everyday guys are drastically behind the pay rate of the average NBA player, how are we supposed to quarantine for two or seven weeks in a bubble without having a gigantic savings to live off of? WE’RE NOT. This is what scares me about the locals I see playing basketball together, no masks and bumping bodies together. They know we will never have millions like the pros do, but in the end, don’t care about having patience and waiting it out. It’s been over five months since I lost my job due to coronavirus and people have just given up all hope. I’m hoping to think of a way to start getting people back on board with wearing masks and being safe in the city of Manchester.

Manchester Ballers playing on Pine Street, August 30, 2020

Coming up next time in the world of sports, I have interviews with players from the courts of Manchester! Can’t wait for you to read what some of the responses are in the face of this pandemic. I put my Russel Westbrook theory to the test… let’s see if it holds true! Until then stay safe my friends and remember, WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC! #BLM

About Mike Lowe 7 Articles
Mike writes from the perspective of a long-time city resident, Black man and father of two. He works for the Manchester school District and has been a volunteer for local youths for more than 20 years. He is also an avid gamer, networker and entrepreneur. Mike values family above all.