Masked basketball?

Don’t like wearing a mask? Masks uncomfortable? Can’t breathe? Too hot? Not enough oxygen?

Whining about wearing a mask around any varsity Salida or Colorado high school basketball players is not going to elicit much sympathy, not when those on the court this coming season have to wear face protection whether they’re warming up, sitting on the bench, guarding the other team’s best scorer or running a fast break.

The same mask requirements go for coaches, officials and fans. No mask? No play, no admittance ... just stay home. Which is not such a bad idea in general, actually, for those not competing, coaching or officiating, given the current situation with the coronavirus’ and its spread.

Cooler weather and folks doing more indoors has resulted – as predicted and expected – in an exploding number of virus cases locally, across the state and nation. And it’s not even December yet, which means things are going to get worse before they get better.

On the subject of high school sports, the Spartans will be playing spring football with away games scheduled for Basalt, which is just west of Aspen, and two schools along I-70, Coal Ridge in New Castle and Rifle.

This means travel through the high country in March and April, the state’s heaviest snow months, over Tennessee or Fremont and Vail passes.

As long-time residents will note, Salida has had its share of spring storms over the years. It’s likely that at least one or more of the games will be in the midst of a cold, wet spring blizzard.

Upheaval in high school sports is just one more example of how the virus has changed lives.

Virus hot buttons

The virus continues as a hot button issue:

• The county has its 15th COVID-19 death, the victim a 51-year-old male who is believed to have contracted the disease while traveling. Condolences to the family.

• Colorado has added a purple level above and more serious than red to its virus levels. Among the counties that are hardest hit most recently are Lake and Mesa, to the north and west. Both counties were late in seeing the virus’ impact in spring but are now making up the difference, if you can call it that.

• Gov. Jared Polis is calling a special legislative session to come up with “care” packages for individuals and certain businesses. The relief programs would be especially for those who lost their jobs due to the virus and businesses such as restaurants who must operate at reduced capacity.

• Officials attribute the recent spike in cases in part to Halloween’s person-to-person contact. If this is the case, then what can be expected from the even bigger holidays ahead, when families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas?

• Given what’s happened the past two weeks, state and county public health officials are asking families to limit social interaction to one’s household members, to maintain distance when possible and to wear a mask when around loved ones.

‘... Forever Yours’

Colo. 291 will henceforth be known as the Ray Lines Memorial Highway.

The designation honors Cpl. Ray Lines, killed in action just days before the end of World War I, leaving behind a wife and young son, writing in his last letter home, “I Remain Forever Yours.”

Future 291 motorists will see the dedication signs and be reminded of one man’s sacrifice to preserve freedom in a war more than a century past. 

Many will not know the story behind Cpl. Lines and 291’s designation but will nonetheless realize that a man is being honored, not to be forgotten. 

— MJB