I took my first Body Pump class since March this week.
This class was different than the last time. A limited number of participants set up equipment on spaces taped on the floor to maintain social distancing. We wiped down the weights with disinfectant before and after class (they were also sterilized each morning by gym employees). We brought mats from home, rather than using the gym’s mats. We wore masks while setting up and tearing down.
The class went well. I thought I would have to back off on the weights I used due to my long layoff so I was conservative when selecting equipment, but I felt gooooood.
Until the next day.
I felt like a train hit me. Delayed onset muscle soreness is real and it is painful. “I am hobbling around like an old lady,” I thought. Then, “Wait…I am an old lady!”
It is always surprising to me, for some reason, when I realize I am the oldest person in the room, in the race, in the class.
Fitness activities have kept me in decent shape but I still have an old immune system that has been taxed many times from years of close contact with germy teenagers.
When I was teaching and running marathons, it seemed as though I got every illness that came down the pike. Putting in high training miles each week lowered my resistance.
In 2009, on the Friday before the Marine Corps Marathon, I got the Swine Flu (H1N1). I had to bail on the race. (I finally ran it for the first time in 2018.)
In 2010, one week before the Colorado Marathon, I developed bronchitis. I ran the race anyway.
It got to the point where I would not accept items students were trying to hand me in the days leading up to a big race. “Put it on my desk,” I would tell students attempting to submit an assignment. “Keep it,” I would say to kids wanting to return a borrowed pencil.
It got to the point where my doctor remarked, “Bronchitis is kind of your thing, isn’t it? You seem to get it every year.” Twice my yearly bronchitis morphed into pneumonia.
I can’t even imagine teaching in the age of COVID.
Here is the thing about my former students: they did the best they could to try to prevent the spread of germs, not only to protect me but also in consideration of their fellow classmates.
We went through gallons of hand sanitizer, cartons of tissues, cases of hand soap. We coughed and sneezed into the crooks of our elbows. We washed our hands like maniacs. We stayed home if we felt sick.
It didn’t matter. Germs are sneaky.
They have evolved to develop novel strategies to infect new victims.
I got sick anyway.
There is one weapon in our prevention arsenal now, however, that was not widely used when I taught school: the face mask.
A few weeks ago, my family doctor, who is my age and a devout Christian, posted what I considered an innocuous missive on Facebook. In it, she admonished readers to take some simple precautions against spreading COVID-19 such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, frequently disinfecting often touched items, and wearing a mask in public.
I was completely unprepared for the invective she received in the comment section of her post.
You would have thought she asked her social media friends to lock themselves up in a maximum-security prison and survive on bread and water for the rest of their lives.
I was impressed and pleased that she did not defend her statements one bit. She allowed the haters’ fury to blow itself out without responding even one word to their insults.
Then I saw this sign on the door of our local bookstore:
Yes, in this country we have freedom, we have rights, but our rights end when they infringe on the health and safety of others.
We have rights, but we also have responsibilities. When did we forget the responsibility side of the equation?
Our love of freedom causes us to make wise choices to keep each other safe.
Our freedom engenders concern and compassion. Our freedom gives us strength, not weakness. Our freedom makes us bold. Our freedom gives us dignity. Our freedom causes us to protect the most vulnerable among us. Our freedom generates in us the desire to do the right thing.
Our freedom prompts us to wear a mask.
There is no politics about it, only science. Wearing a mask will save lives but only if we all do it.
I don’t wear a mask to protect myself; I wear it to protect you.
I wear it out of a sense of freedom, and of responsibility, and of love.
It’s the least I can do.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
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