THE BEST SELLERS’ LIST- What… A Year! From Gobert to thousands of deaths, COVID-19 has given and taken away since last March

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Today is the day when our lives changed forever. 

Back on March 10, 2020, the coronavirus was just a floating news story and something to causally joke about. At worst it was another plague hitting other countries around the world. It wasn’t something the United States had to worry about. 

Then reality set in ironically because of the happenings with a 7-foot French NBA player. Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert represented the attitudes of most U.S. Americans prior to March 11, 2020. On March 9, Gobert spoke with reporters after a shoot-around in Canada. Before walking away from the press conference, Gobert made a joke of the coronavirus by returning to the table to touch the reporters’ recorders. With a big smile, he walked away from the room into the hall of worldwide infamy.

Two days later, the news of Gobert testing positive for the virus was amazing and horrifying. A professional athlete in one of our big-four sports had COVID-19. Prior to his positive test, coronavirus was a problem for China. We didn’t have to worry about it.

OK, Italy was on a worldwide lockdown. But that is Europe. We should be fine in the States. 

In a span of just a few hours from that infamous Wednesday night, everything changed in sports, education, government and our culture. Since Gobert’s positive test our lives have changed for the worse and better. With 365 days of the pandemic in the book, the Best Sellers’ List is going to rank the top 5 things I miss because of our COVID-19 regulations and the top 5 things we should keep after we get the virus under control. 

FIVE THINGS I MISS

5. Smiling at people on the 

sidewalk

On thing I’ve learned over the past year, a person’s eyes can convey a lot of emotions. We’re forced to look each other in the eyes now because most of us are wearing mask that cover 60 percent of our faces. 

As a man standing 6-feet tall and 225-pounds I need a smile sometimes to illustration I mean no harm. And a grin on my face will allow an old lady to know I’m trying to assist her across the street. A nice smile might spark a conversation with a random guy about Jordan vs. LeBron. 

4. Being able to take care of a sick relative 

In December and January I learned the effects of COVID-19 first hand with my mother and wife getting the virus. I had to stay isolated and away from the both of them for more than two weeks. Prior to coronavirus, someone I love fell ill, it was time to spring into action and play doctor. 

Instead I have to leave goodie bags on the doorstep. I had to call and check on them through others who were battling the virus as well. For my own safety I had to stay way from two women I love. 

Prayer is all you can do, hoping it doesn’t turn for the worse.

3. My Gym Routine

No locker room usage, no showers, no drinking out of the water fountain and time limits, are just some of the new gym rules. Those who attend a gym regularly, you know a routine is born. Better yet, you develop a gym family. Others come at the same time, use the same machine and go through a exercise plan you can diagram with your eyes close. 

As time goes by, conversations are sparked. You hear stories about the person’s past, present and future dreams. You encourage each other in building better bodies. You make each other accountable. The gym is not just a place for meat heads. It can be a place to strengthen you emotions, spirits, mind along with your body. Time is the key ingredient to building all of those. 

2. Normal church service

The Church of Christ at Ridgegrove has been missing something since last March — a few dozen souls. 

I have to quote Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” I know safety comes first and this virus has forced us to take precautions. 

But I do miss bonding with my brothers and sisters in Christ. That time together was medicine to my soul and gave me strength to face challenges in my everyday life. 

Faith has been tested over and over again since March 11, 2020. And I feel as long as you pray and keep some spiritual relationship with the Higher Power, you will be fine. 

But this past year has taught me not to forsake coming together as the body and connecting with Christ. 

1. Giving a hug

I am a hugger. If I haven’t seen you in a while, my natural reaction is to hug you. I hate when a person gives me the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm and transitions into an elbow bump. I get it. It’s protocol for the times. But it does sadden my heart for a minute and brings me back to the reality of the pandemic. 

My moment of elation of seeing a friend or family member still alive is crushed by the lack of a hug. 

FIVE THINGS WE SHOULD KEEP

5. Mix in Zoom meetings

We’ve learned that not every work or school meeting needs to be in person, eating up time and kill productivity. Now the work world can schedule in Zoom meetings more. Once we’re allowed to share office space again, we still need in-person connections. But remote meetings can be mixed into the routine. 

But let’s make sure we’re not doing anything inappropriate, we have on clothes and we’re not appearing a fluffy feline to our coworkers. Oh, yeah and don’t perform a surgery when you’re trying to fight a traffic ticket in court. Don’t abuse Zoom and remote meetings, let’s make it a useful tool that won’t land us as a viral moment. 

4. Distance in lines

Prior to March 11, 2020, I had my own 2-foot rule while standing in a line. I hated trying purchase something and I would turn to checkout what was on the rack. Before I would turn 95 degrees I am bumping into a total stranger.

The 6-feet apart has cut that problem out 100 percent. No longer do I have to share cologne with a person I’ve never met. I don’t feel obligate to introduce myself to a person that is so close I feel like I’ve violated them. 

I don’t miss those days of smelling smoke or bad breathe just over my shoulders. And now when I enter a shopping establishment a little musky or pure funky, I have room to allow others to get some fresh air. This rule works for all of us. 

3. Cutdown on Traveling

The coronavirus has been an aversion to unnecessary travel. Over the past year, those who venture out for a spring break, family holiday, a distention wedding, or simple getaway have been exposed and called out. 

I must admit I hate traveling and feel vacations are a waste of money. This pandemic has given a person like me a great excuse. “I don’t want to be exposed to another city’s germs.” “Is it safe and what will we be bringing back home?” 

“That area has seen a spike in cases. Let’s stay home to be safe.” 

I have about 20 more of these gems. Hopefully into the future we’ll travel with more of a purpose and sense of respect. Let’s keep our homes clean and safe. Then when we visit another town, let’s not litter, be filthy or act like we can leave a mess because it’s not our home.

2. Hand Washing

I love the sight of seeing men wash their hands after using the restroom. Confusion women, prior to March 11, 2020, I saw quite a few men walk away from the urinal and head straight to the doors. 

Now you will be happy to know about 97 percent of them are washing their hands in hot water and soap for at least 10 seconds. It’s a process but we’re getting better. 

Overall since the pandemic, more people have a sense of improving hygiene. 

Times have changed, and people are now aware of how important it is to keep yourself clean. From shaking hands to hugs, we had a fear of human connect for a large portion of 2020. As we have a need for human interaction, we have to stay clean to get back to those days. 

We’re going to remember to cover your mouths when we cough, to sanitize our hands after touching anything else because we know what can happen if we don’t.

1. Wearing Mask in Winter

Hey, do you guys remember that virus called the flu. That things has almost disappeared. COVID-19 had something to do with it and wearing a mask from October to this point today. I feel from October 20 to April 20 mask should be mandated for public use. Then when the spring and summer is here, we can relax the mask rules.

I’m not a big fan of mask but I know when something is working to improve my health. And having a mask this past flu season has almost eliminated the disease. 

Plus with so many cool designs, let’s keep mask around so we can compare who has the better version each World Series, Halloween, holiday season, Super Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. 

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to thomas@magicvalleypublishing.com.