COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has taken over the local, national, and international headlines since the end of 2019. The rapid spread of the Coronavirus across Asia, Europe, and, now, America has caused markets to fall, travel to decline, schools to close, sporting events to be cancelled, and the rise of social distancing. And, with the Coronavirus being named a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Coronavirus will likely only continue to increase its ugly presence in our daily lives in the coming days/weeks/months.
So, how will the Coronavirus affect one of the most important aspects of your daily life—your pickleball play?
Pickleball players are still out on the pickleball courts playing pickleball. The Coronavirus has not halted our daily lives or one of the most important aspects of our daily lives—playing pickleball with our friends in our pickleball community. Nevertheless, we should still take steps to combat the Coronavirus pandemic and prevent the further spread of the deadly sickness.
To date, the Coronavirus tends to affect the elderly population the most strongly, and has shown signs that it is 10 times deadlier than the flu. With that in mind, it is no surprise that the majority of the pickleball population is over 55 years of age. As a result, to protect our beloved fellow pickleball players (regardless of your age, whether you are young, young at heart, or anywhere in between), it is essential that all pickleball players are prudent, proactive, and vigilant in their personal health and hygiene in order to inadvertently affect the pickleball population. A few precautionary measures and guidelines to keep you and the rest of the pickleball community healthy and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting the restroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Consider staying home if you are feeling unwell
- Keep away from others that are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard the tissue in the trash
- Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places (for instance, water fountains in public parks and public restroom doorknobs)
- Clean and disinfect your pickleball paddle, pickleballs, phones, other household objects, and surfaces in your home
- Maintain social distance and avoid direct and indirect physical touching with others (in other words, keep your distance with others, especially in large crowds); if anything, consider only a tap of pickleball paddles with outstretched arms with others on the pickleball court, and be sure to clean and disinfect your pickleball paddle
- Keep alcohol-based sanitizer with you and in your pickleball bag
- Avoid all non-essential travel
- Keep your immune system strong by:
- Reducing stress (for instance, by playing pickleball);
- Getting enough sleep;
- Staying hydrated (i.e. drink lots of water);
- Eating well; and
- Taking vitamin C
- Stay up-to-date with the latest information on the Coronavirus, as circumstances are changing daily, by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/
Will the Coronavirus Impact My Pickleball Tournament?
The Coronavirus is also affecting pickleball tournaments and other larger pickleball events beyond recreational play and open play. In the past week, we have seen numerous events, festivals, and sporting events be cancelled in response to the Coronavirus and its effects across the globe. This includes the BNP Paribas Open, a famous tennis tournament that draws some of the best talent in the sport and over 500,000 fans to Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which was to be held March 9th through March 22nd, 2020. The cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open is significant to the pickleball world, as the BNP Paribas Open is held at the same venue as the infamous USA Pickleball National Championships. Fortunately, the USA Pickleball National Championships will not occur until November 2020, so the pickleball community can remain hopeful that the world will contain the Coronavirus in the next several months, prior to having to make a difficult decision to cancel another terrific event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Other pickleball tournaments across the United States and across the world do not have as much time to wait for the Coronavirus to be contained. Some pickleball tournaments will happen as early as this upcoming weekend. Other tournaments, like the US Open Pickleball Championships in Naples, Florida, will occur in a few weeks on April 18th through April 25th, 2020. What is happening with these pickleball tournaments? What should you do if you are scheduled to play in one of these pickleball tournaments?
If you are playing in a pickleball tournament in the coming weeks, keep up-to-date on tournament information. Tournament directors should update pickleball players if and when circumstances change. For instance, the US Open Pickleball Championships released a statement this week that the organizers are actively working with local health officials to monitor the Coronavirus issues. As of today, the US Open Pickleball Championships will continue as scheduled. However, this may change, especially as the numbers surrounding the Coronavirus seem to be rising at an increasingly fast rate. So, continue to stay up-to-date on the latest local Coronavirus news and remain informed.
Let’s Prevent the Coronavirus from Impacting Our Pickleball Community!
In summary, the best way to prevent the Coronavirus from affecting your pickleball play is to be prudent, proactive, and vigilant. Stay up-to-date on the latest information and precautionary measures, and follow them strictly.
Let’s each do our part to prevent the Coronavirus from impacting our pickleball community!