Never thought swine flu would affect me

Published 11:10 pm Monday, May 4, 2009

After first hearing about the swine flu or the H1N1 Influenza A virus outbreak on April 26, I never thought it would affect sports in Alabama.

But, it did.

I had heard on the news that it originated from Mexico and the closest case detected outside of Alabama was in Texas.

This was back on Sun., April 26, and during the course of the rest of that week, the swine flu had taken over the news.

The Centers for Disease Control urged all non-essential travel to and from Mexico to stop and also gave warnings to residents to take caution against the flu.

Even in Covington County last Thursday, local pharmacies began to experience customers coming in and taking the precautionary steps to fight swine flu a day after two cases were reported in school systems in Madison County. On the same day, there was a third case reported and that’s where the local sports was affected.

So, last Wednesday night I had a hunch that sports were going to get hit by this outbreak. At that point, I had only learned of the two cases, not the three.

Thursday morning, I came to work after being awoken by a colleague telling me that the Alabama High School Athletic Association had canceled all post-season tournaments because of the H1N1 Influenza A virus.

That’s where the panic/adrenaline kicked in. “I knew this was going to happen,” I remember thinking.

It was inevitable.

As another colleague said to me later that morning, tournaments can be a breeding ground for viruses to be spread.

So, the plan for last Friday’s paper was to get reaction from coaches on what they were going to do now that the area tournaments have been postponed until today.

Pleasant Home coach Jimmy Reeves said this postponement would have no “effect” on the team.

“We’re not going to let (the postponement) affect us,” Reeves said. “It’s going to give us a couple extra days of practice and the girls are disappointed. They’ve been raring to go and we’re just going to keep practicing.

“We can always use that practice time,” he said. “We’ll practice (Thursday) and (Friday) and come back next week ready to play and hopefully stay healthy.”

Later in that same interview, I asked Reeves if he has had to deal with anything like this before. He said he hasn’t had to, but the weather has caused delays in tournaments before.

Luckily, news came from the AHSAA Monday, saying that the playoffs are ready to go again, starting today.

A sigh of relief came over me when I read that. I was doing OK, but the constant pitter-patter of rain outside is still causing me some worry.

The weather indicates that there will be a 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms today. Let’s hope it doesn’t dampen this sports editor’s spirits heading into the postseason.