First post! Took over a year for my account to get approved for some reason, but I was content with lurking.
I have conflicting feelings about pool halls and covid. I love pool, I want pool to thrive as a sport, and I want my local pool halls to survive this once in a century affliction. The conflict? Every time I set foot in a pool hall I’m risking not only my life (over 50, hypertensive), but I’m also risking the life of anyone I may come in contact with afterwards. To play a game. Even worse, I’m risking not dying from this virus, or exposing others to - the possibility of the long term consequences of it. No one knows with any certainty what the long term effects this disease has on the vascular system, the heart, the lungs. It reminds me of friends who engaged in risky behaviors in the 70s/80s, eventually grew up and thought they were safe, only to discover HIV and/or hepatitis C. Some of those friends survived long enough for treatments to become available, some didn’t.
Regardless, is someone’s pool hall surviving, and my own desire to find a temporary escape from quarantine hell (been working remotely since March), really worth it? i have already attended the funeral of a friend’s loved one who was vulnerable, after the friend was exposed at a pool hall. Luckily for everyone else on this friend’s league teams, they always wore a mask, properly, or the rest of us would likely have been exposed. For months my local pool halls ignored the state mandated mask policy. Eventually they faced closure from non-compliance, but 9 out of 10 are now wearing masks below their noses or utilizing the exception to the rule thst if you are sitting down with a drink or eating the mask can come off. Expecting a room full of alcohol fueled pool players to implement infection control procedures is futile at best. Most of them have learned from facebook that this virus is a hoax, that masks don’t work, that democrats are lizard people, and so on.
What disturbs me is that I have learned, as a result of this pandemic, that there is a very large percentage of the American population who lack even a scintilla of basic human decency or empathy. They simply don’t care enough to believe that this virus, may in fact, not be a hoax, and that they are risking the health/finances/lives of everyone they come in contact with. And 90% of this risk could be averted by simply wearing a mask, correctly, maintaining a safe distance, and basic hygiene. If everyone had done these simple things for a few weeks back in March, thus wouldn‘t even be a discussion any more. It never had to get to the point of threatening anyone’s freedom or liberty or livelihoods or whatnot. But from the top down, ignorance has been willful and utterly destructive.
Luckily I work in health care and have received my first dose of the pfizer vaccine. In a few weeks I will not have to be worried about risking my own life to go play pool. Maybe I will be able to play a little better not having that worry in the back of my head. Unfortunately, I will still have to worry about others and will still have to wear a mask, it has not been determined yet if those who are vaccinated can still transmit the virus or not.
We are far from being out of the woods, the worst is yet to come. God forbid these non-believers keep this virus in circulation long enough for it to mutate beyond what the latest vaccines can handle. It would seem that if pool hall owners, league operators, and pool players had any sense of self preservation, they would encourage adherence to reasonable precautions, it is clearly in their best interest. But so far it seems they just enjoy shooting themselves in the foot too much. I’m afraid that eventually they are going to end up putting the final nail of pool’s coffin, and I won’t be able to play the game I love so much.