A little bit of Normality during Covid — and a stark contrast

“There’s a softball game the President wants to watch.”
“They show softball on TV?”
“Well, yeah.”
“And the president watches it?”
“He likes to unwind by watching sports on TV.”
“Whatever’s on.”
Ron and Gina in “The West Wing” – “What Kind of Day Has It Been”

Dave Rubin mentioned that he watches old basketball games. In contrast to the current basketball games, the old ones were actually about basketball. About skill, not some political agenda. They aimed to entertain, not to educate. And there is the quotation from an old “The West Wing” episode above.

So, yeah, watching sports might be something to wind down. Beat’s alcohol anyway.

Recently, YouTube suggested a Girls High School Volleyball video on its start screen. One of those “I would like to understand how that algorithm works” moments. It’s not connected to my searches, the Browser kills cookies and data when I close it. But anyway, it was interesting to watch — you see young athletes who take the game seriously, but not too seriously. They are really happy when they score a point. Well, most are.

Given that it was an older game (easy to spot: there was an audience — with no masks) I compared it with one from 2020 (if you read this in a few years, during the COVID19 pandemic). In the game more than a year ago, the players really celebrate points — they hug, they slap each others affectionally, and they embrace each other during a time out. But the 2020 one … very toned down, some elbow bumps. And one team even wears masks when playing.

Just compare these videos — same teams (well, not exactly the same players), but they should roughly keep their team culture:

Girls High School Volleyball: Champlin Park vs. Osseo (prior to the 2020 pandemic)


Champlin Park vs. Osseo High School Volleyball (during the 2020 pandemic)

The difference is like day and night. (And damn, do the commentators wear masks too? They sound like it.)

And yeah, it might not be a problem for the players. They might even like it. But looking at it from the outside, I think we don’t really realize yet what these COVID restrictions did and still do to us.