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March 31, 2020

Eytan Shander: Sorry fans, don't expect to attend a single sporting event in 2020

Opinion Coronavirus
1_Wells_Fargo_Center_sixers_76ersvsCeltics_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/Kate Frese

Tee shirts on the seat of the Wells Fargo Center turn the arena blue before at the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on October 23, 2019. (Kate Frese/PhillyVoice)

Please be prepared to not attend any sporting events for the remainder of 2020. 

It won’t be the Eagles, nor the Sixers, nor will it be Wrestlemania. 

The way things are going — hopefully you’ve been listening our weekly interviews with my dad, a very knowledgable doctor (the latest interview is below) — we might be out and about by July. But even being allowed to leave your house won’t transfer to over to 20,000 people attending a basketball game. 

I am not in the camp of Dr. Kirk Herbstreit nor will I take unnamed athletic directors who only present one model of preparation. It’s as dangerous as a politician getting up in front of a camera and hitting you with six different models. They span from “don’t worry, we will be out of this thing by Easter” to “We are all dead in six months,” mainly to show you what could happen. 

Sure, sports could still be shut down, in a worst-case scenario in August, but that’s not likely to happen. Here’s why; the more we test AND stay the heck home, the faster we hit containment and a return to normalcy.

Once these quarantines are lifted, we won’t be able to simply dive back into the deep end of the pool. There will be stages of allowing society to resume, mainly to prevent another major spread. We already see Wuhan self-reporting around 7-10 percent of infected people having it again for the second time. We need to be prepared for a very likely scenario, sports return but fans do not. 

I get it doesn’t “sit well” with LeBron James and other athletes, but when we return to a level of safety for pro athletes, these games will be played. MLB tried to push a joint agreement between the league and players, but even that had a caveat about playing in front of no fans, so long as the leagues felt the players were safe.

This isn’t a problem for a lot of fan bases in a lot of cities, but it will be a problem for us here in Philadelphia. 

No, I am not coming down on anyone nor putting myself above people who WANT to attend games. I’m sympathizing and know how integral being at games is for our fanbase. We have one of the best home advantages in sports with the Sixers, that’s because of you. We have an amazing sense of electricity “re-found” at Flyers games, also because of you. We have NFL players who come here and mention first – before the QB or coach – about how crazy and passionate you are. Other parts of the country won’t get it – outside of a few patches in SEC country. We live for our teams but it’s so much more than that. 

Social distancing? We’ve lived the opposite at every sporting event for decades. So, yea, I get it, staying home is tough and almost cruel to keep Philly fans home from games. But it’s all the difference and will ensure we don’t go through this again. It will be the biggest sports sacrifice any of us will have to make, but only for a short period of time.

Get out!

Let’s head to Nanuet, NY – a smaller town north of NYC on the Hudson River. A father kicked his college-aged son out of the house and has no regard for where he will live moving forward. Before you jump all over him for being “father of the year” you may want to actually nominate the man for Father of the Year. 

If your family member – teenage son or older parent – is heading to high volume areas, ensuring contact every day with people, and coming back home with zero regard for your family; kick them out. That’s exactly what Matt Levine did, heading to South Padre Island for Spring Break. He found his car full of groceries when he returned, and a message from his dad, “get out" 

Matt’s lease at school is done in June, and his dad couldn’t care less where he goes. His dad is protecting Matt’s grandparents who live at home, something Matt either forgot or simply didn’t care.

You’re doing it wrong

Remember that time the world was in quarantine and you bolted to Germany to self-isolate with 20 women? No? Well you might be doing it all wrong. Enter the King of Thailand and his outside the box thinking

Look, the man has his priorities set, including convincing the local German government to allow the hotel to remain open for the 21-person crew. The reports don’t even state if his wife – 4th time’s the charm – made the trip! 

To be honest I’m pretty conflicted here. On one hand, the man is balling out during a pandemic and it’s all safe – assuming nobody leaves the house. The other side is the rather unfortunate reality that the leader – known as Rama X – bolted during a crisis. He hasn’t been seen in public since February.

Coping with the COVID-19 Virus from Wuhan

We got some great reaction on last week’s video, including a couple of follow up questions. I want to keep this as open of a forum as possible. Please send any questions you have to my DM on Twitter @shandershow

Dr. Aryeh Shander MD, FCCM, FCCP, FASA

Director of TeamHealth Research Institute; Emeritus Chief Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, Englewood Health; Courtesy Clinical Professor, UF College of Medicine; Adjunct Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology, Medicine and Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; Adjunct Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

Pop culture pick of the week: Ozark!

Marty and Wendy are back! If you haven’t watched or finished Ozark, please know there are spoilers ahead.

This might be the one of the easiest shows to watch over the last twenty years of television. It’s truly amazing how fast it moves, knowing the perfect time to end scenes and avoiding dragging out themes. One key element in moving this show along so quickly is the music. No, not Ruth and her amazing catalogue of old-school rap music, rather the subtle music underneath dialogue that perfectly intertwines with how freaking tense everything remains. That’s the centerpiece of this show, something they do a fantastic job of illustrating every episode. Nobody is safe... ever. You can’t even take a breath, exhale, get a good night’s sleep. Even the kids are stressed out of their minds. 

But this season took a different turn about seven episodes in, something that wasn’t typical to the series.

The first six episodes flew by so fast I had to routinely check which one I was watching. I couldn’t believe it, the storylines and solutions felt like the past two seasons. But then, all of a sudden, it stopped. Episodes 7-9 felt like a grinding halt of a locomotive, having me question why this show would fall into a loop. It came in the form of Ben – a character that wasn’t all bad – falling into some Westworld-like loop of idiotic behavior. Note to the showrunners: You can’t write in a guy is dealing with mental health issues – only to take some ridiculous liberties with the script.

I simply didn’t need to see Ben continue to make things worse only to add more stress to Wendy. We’ve seen both Marty and Wendy pushed to the edge and back, and there were way too many red flags with Ben to know he was going to make it. So once you – we – came to the conclusion around episode 7 that Ben wasn’t going to make it, they chose to drag it out, ultimately slowing down the rest of the show. We know Wendy is evil as we know the same about Marty. We saw them put in a difficult situation, one that tested loyalties like Ruth, and knew based on their history how it would end. Not good for Ben. We didn’t need it drawn out so much.

The biggest impact this all had was on the finale, where it was left to clean up the mess of the previous three episodes. Unfortunately, it was a little too late and too rushed. The episode itself was much closer to the first six and rewarded us with some closure to the season. But even that closure – coming in the form of Helen’s inevitable death – was left with little time on the clock. There was simply no more time in the episode to do anything other than kill Helen or leave one hell of a cliffhanger. The show is amazing, I’ll be back for the fourth season — just hoping the consistent speed returns.

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On my way out

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Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan during the week on @973espn (Mon.-Fri. from 12-2 p.m.), @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.), and @SBNationRadio on the weekends. You can also catch him on FOX 29 Good Day.

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