When the Light at the End of the Tunnel Suddenly Goes Dark.

Family Quarintine Run!

“A hundred bad days made a hundred good stories…” 100 Bad Days by AJR

I was free and clear. The Feb air seemed so much sweeter than the air that we started breathing 11 months prior. I received my first COVID shot. Whew, “I made it!” I thought. The light at the end of the tunnel was close and Brighter than ever. Little did I know that that light got brighter and brighter and then, Suddenly, extinguished. And I was shocked at the Darkness!

Perhaps I was playing with Fire most of the summer, Fall, and early winter. I was a gym Rat when things started opening up. I didn’t really go to bars or night clubs. I went to GYMs. A LOT OF THEM. My quick count is that I belong to four of them. Plus I have a little home gym. It is better than bars RIGHT!?!? Ironically it was the place of fitness that probably did me in.

I was not opposed to bars or nightclubs. But you can just go to a gym by yourself and not look sad and desparate. And now looking back…i really need to get a Social Life. So needless to say, there was probably three maybe four Bars (TOPS) all summer/fall/winter. And I was making a lot of new friends at my classes/gyms.

Since Fall of 2020 (actually Spring of 2020), My Coaching Career has been dealing with Setback after Setback. Fall XC Season—was pushed to Spring. I was tasked with putting a plan together for Fall Track and Field…That was tentatively approved, postponed, and then DENIED. How about Indoor Track & Field with a Conference only Schedule…no facility and not enough teams to support…Put that one in the loss column as well. My School was back in session and we were practicing for Indoor Track as we had a few NCAA Qualifiers we thought. AND THEN that pretty much fell through (although we had one outstanding Meet) as NCAA Div. 3 cancelled the Nationals. It was pretty much the same way of life for me, build up anticipation for something that wasn’t ever going to happen.

But then towards the middle of February our scheduled Winter XC season wasn’t canceled or pushed back. Our kids had been grinding in some rough weather. This was going to happen. I scheduled a catered team dinner for XC on the night before the first meet and wanted the Full Track team there as a sort of Pep Rally. I mean do XC teams ever get a regular season meet send off!?!?! We do!!!

Let me back track a bit to some more personal stuff. So early in January when I was scheduled for a Mid-Feb Covid-19 Shot I was nervous and I was careful. Actually it was probably around Halloween when My Friday nights became dates with my Treadmill. I was going back to Ballroom Dance for a Halloween Party. I dressed up as Indiana Jones. I looked into the studio and saw people that I had NO IDEA where they had been and I was going to dance with them. I felt a bit of panic…and then NEVER WENT IN. I went home and ran on my treadmill. 7 mile friday runs and turned into 10.5 miles runs by December. I watched Movies or TV Series while I ran and it was glorious. 7PM START the workout, and, afterwards, drink a few HIGH POWERED IPAs at 9 and bed by 11. What a Friday!!! Then Sat was FITNESS CLASS DAY. That was my Drug. I couldn’t ever match the intensity of my Sat class by myself. And like a DRUGGIE I went every week. And that was probably my downfall!

At these classes there are good people. And there is also Jumping, thrusting weights in the air, and Burpees. Air is constantly expelled and thus inpelled ( I just made that word up…breathed in…inhaled seems like something illegal). That has to be where IT happened.

On a Wed in Mid Feb, I left my shop thinking I was about to be Set Free from worry. I showed up in Sharon, filled out my forms (found out I went to high school with the sister of the nurse taking my info) and received my Moderna Covid-19 vaccine shot…easier than a flu shot. I waited the 15 min, I left. I went out to lunch. The food just tasted better. Practice that night went well, I moderately participated (my arm was sore). I had a Kitchen Remodel guy appointment at my house at 7:15 and he was there till about 8:30. By that time it was get ready for bed. Next day, I didn’t feel so great. THE SHOT was the assumption. All kinds of people tell me they felt lousy the next day including family members. I went to work and practice, although I didn’t do too much. On Friday, I ran early because I didn’t do too much the day before and when I showed up at my shop my eyes were burning red (at least that is what my guys told me). I thought it was my morning run (which I normally DO NOT DO ON FRIDAYS…see above). I didn’t stay long there as I had some stuff at school to do. I led the team workout at practice that night and went home and RAN AGAIN (because my morning run wasn’t so great). So normal Covid ERA FRIDAY. On Sat I went to my class and totally struggled. And again, people told me oh the shot does weird stuff to you. SO AGAIN still the reaction from the shot. Sunday wasn’t much better as we were going to go skiing but when my kids said they didn’t feel like it, I was Relived. Monday was a bit better as I took the day off from working out. By my calculations I had gone like 10 days straight with no real exercise break with the exception of light lift the day after COVID SHOT.

At Wednesday Morning Breakfast, my youngest said “Dad, I can’t taste my cereal.” And like she announced she had the Plague, my son ejected himself from his seat so fast he knocked it over and he barricaded himself into his room and declared (without a test) that she had COVID. We were done for.

I thought I could move things along by getting a Covid test at my college for my daugther. That was a mistake, for as soon as I mentioned this to our trainer, I was told to stay away until she was tested. I was not officially in Quarantine yet, but that door was certainly opened.

She was tested at the hospital. I ran into two people that I know. Awkward conversation on my part, but everyone was pretty NORMAL. I was jealous of my daughter’s test. They just swabbed the nose. When I have been tested at school, I swear they touched my brain. The second time i was tested before a Track meet I was bleeding because of that test. I thought at the time of my second test that COVID would be easier than those tests…little did I know.

The Doctor called that night. SHE WAS POSITIVE. If she was POSITIVE, then she probably got it from me, as I still wasn’t feeling myself and I WAS TIRED!!! I called her school and mine. AND HERE IS WHERE I MADE MY MISTAKE. My school policy is that if someone in the house has covid, you quarantine for 10 days and THEN quarantine for an additional 10 days to make sure the non-COVID person doesn’t get it. School told me I WAS OUT for 20 days. WHOA!!!!! In a previous blog, I mentioned that I just needed a break. Again, my wise father’s words echoed in my head, ” Be careful what you wish for, it might come true”.

I needed to get tested. I called my doctor. They didn’t test till the next day. So I asked I I could get an appointment at the same place my daughter was tested. It was arranged. The test was so much better than the ones at school. NOW, I just had to wait. I was done for 10 days or 20 days. I almost said a prayer…”Please, GOD, let me have COVID-19″.

XC skiing PRE COVID

PART 2: Quarantine

“I didn’t know i was broken till I wanted to Change. I wanna get better…” I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers

I was almost positive I had it at this point. I still worked out each day, treadmill, body weight exercises (I brought all my home weights to school because of all the weight room limitations), quarantennis each day (see description later), walks with the kids. But i was definitely not myself. I didn’t have time to set up the ZOOM SCHOOL for my kids for Thursday and they were off on Friday so their teachers could get COVID shots. So we were really not in a good routine. My older two were basically HIDING in their rooms. WE did go out to take walks and they were okay outside as we were VERY SOCIALLY DISTANT.

My doctor called me on Friday afternoon. “Hey, You have it” he said.

“YES!!!”, was my reply. He was a bit taken aback.

“What?”

“Doc, I need to have COVID so I can go back to work in 10 days and not 20!” I exclaimed to him.

He knows me pretty well, so he understood. 20 days at home would have been a dream months ago, but now with a season underway and potentially a Great Women’s XC team and ON PAPER one of the best women’s Track & Field teams we’ve ever had, plus a very small group of TALENTED Men I didn’t want to be at home.

So 10 Days…that takes me to Sunday. I asked my school if I could get out of Quarantine a day early to go to a XC MEET… and an EMPHATIC “NO” was the response from school.

So I had Covid. I was out 10 days. This was doable. I was able to send workouts to my team (oh there was one really terrible weather day that I actually felt bad for them). At my shop, I was able to set up a few things via email and text for my guys to do. One day I will have to tell a story about FRANK…the true MVP of this Covid situation I got myself in. He has been with me for 40 years and he has saved me more times than I can count. 10 days and me with my computer and phone…really not much different than being in the office.

My youngest really likes Tennis. I really like tennis too…I just have NO ONE to play with. So we started playing everyday. EVEN in the COLD. It was great. She takes lessons so she is pretty good. We then developed a game with her Sister and Brother. My oldest two Roller Blade/Skate to the park. They then skate on the court and we try to hit them (YES, HIT THEM) with tennis balls as they skate through our court. We called it Quarantennis and we played it every day.

I was able to set the kids up with ZOOM lessons from their school. THis made my life a little bit easier although trying to figure out computers was a challenge. We cobbled together old computers and new Pads to make it work. I spent a good deal of time trying to set up a Wireless Printer (half a morning…but a SAVIOR) as there were a lot of printouts.

I was able to ZOOM into my Team Dinner for our PEP RALLY and I gave a motivational Speech. I had to catch myself as I almost started to get emotional about missing that first meet. But they team cheered when I was done and I began to look at this as just another LIFE STORY.

Covid Crazy Ceremomy

The first weekend went quickly. There was tennis and walking and LEGOS. We got a Gift Basket from my Team and my COVID kid fell in love with LEGOs. We bought a NINTENTO SWITCH with FORTNITE. Whoa…I stink at video games. This made life easier in our “Jailhouse”.

About Tuesday of this final stretch there was a Jack Nicholson SHINING Flipout from my son about the Printer not printing properly, and lessons being stupid and calls to my ex wife and me FLIPPING OUT at him. Then I caught my oldest laying in bed watching WEIRD Tik-Tok videos while her teacher was teaching via Zoom on another device. Then I went Full Jack Nicholson SHINING Crazy. There were emails from/to teachers where i may have lost my cool. (And just so you all know, I did email them later to THANK THEM for all they did and apologize for my TONE).

The Legos of my youngest soon stopped thereafter and freetime was filled with NETFLIX Shows and stupid YOU TUBE videos. It was all starting to Break down. Then on Wednesday the weather was almost 60 degrees and the sun was shinning…and it just got easier. We had two days to GO.

We PLOWED THOUGH. The teacher directions were clearer. Our routine was understood. My team was on par back at school, and my guys at the shop got things done.

It wasn’t the Break I wanted. And because I was able to step back and see new perspective, it became the Break I needed. So the light went out. But as my dad used to always say, The sun will rise again tomorrow. Well it wasn’t tomorrow. But that sunrise on the 10th day was GLORIOUS.

4 thoughts on “When the Light at the End of the Tunnel Suddenly Goes Dark.”

  1. I loved your story Tim. I think you are too hard on yourself. I hope your team does well. Hope everyone stays healthy.

    Like

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