Pure Sole: No More Chin Straps!

    Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain players during a recent basketball game. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Finally! Let my "Kirk Douglas" shine! Juneau School District athletes can get rid of their chin-straps, errr, lip blankets, errr… masks! Yes, masks! 

      Per the recent JSD board meeting, Superintendent Bridget Weiss noted the new policy currently applies just to basketball and hockey players (vaccinated or unvaccinated) while they are actively playing and who agree to new testing guidelines. The testing rules would not apply to players who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

       But let’s be honest. Masks were not worn 100% of the time as designed anyway.

      In MY opinion, because this is a column - hopefully one of light-hearted content - and this is my column… so in my opinion I would say they were worn as designed 80% of the time. Or higher or lower depending on what game, sport and school district.

      And if I could see that when I was trying to take stats, make photos, write screenplays and recite poetry (go ahead, find something meaningful that rhymes with Naismith)… well then, who else saw these COVID-19 coverings slung so sneakily around each ear and across the face front?

      We all saw noses at some point.

      If you didn’t see a nose then you weren’t watching the game, but that is for another column: my "why are you at the game if you are just talking on your phone" column.

      Heck, noses are how I recognized some of my athletes. 

      However, I did not ever see a mask get knocked off or thrown off after a missed shot or at a referee… so I know good intentions have been pursued by our athletes.

      And I get it.

      I have to wear a Buff when temperatures require it as I am scooting across a mountain ridge. I hate it! Worse than a mask! You suck a buff into your mouth, you just do.

      I do, however, like to hike my Buff up around my ears as a headband and pretend I am Roger Federer… backhand a few black flies in the summer, overhand smash some low-hanging snow-ladden branches in the winter.

      And this new un-masking policy does not apply to all athletes. 

      So far, it is just the hoopsters and the skaters.

      You of the tumbling, jumping and lifting worlds in cheer and dance still have to mask.

      As do the pep band folks who, thank you very much, still give me chills when school fight songs play (possible future column, “why do we not stand for school fight songs anymore?”).

      And I still have to mask… and the fans… and the students in the schools.

      So keep letting your spirit shine, even if you, like me, don’t always understand the science but do appreciate the scientists.

      I wore my favorite school’s mascot emblazoned mask to a doctor’s appointment the other day… imagine my surprise when they asked me to put on theirs, as mine was not as effective as the budget conscious among us believe.

      But ANY mask is better than No Mask… 

      No mask? 

      Weren’t those the infamous words spoken on Nov. 25, 1980 by the great Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran in his second fight with Sugar Ray Leonard? Didn’t Duran turn his back after being continually humiliated by Leonard and mutter “no mask.”

      Ohhhhhhhhhh, wait… 

      … Duran said “No Mas.” 

      No more.

      My doctor and his team do pass out those blue light-as-a-feather masks though, some of the same ones you can get at the door of a local gymnasium if you forget your own when you come in to watch our athletes play.

      Our maybe you just like to pretend you are in the midst of a bank robbery. Isn’t it funny how unrecognizable people become when part of their face is covered?

      And why do I catch myself pulling my mask down when I am listening to someone talk to me? What Swedish imbalance makes me think my hearing involves my own nose and mouth?

      I am easy to spot though.

      Camera around the neck and my poetry book scribblings.

      And my mask is either one a doctor friend of mine sent as a gift or one the person that lets me put dirty shoes by the door purchased for me.

      And, no, the masks do not have matching copper bracelets that promise to improve my old age romanticism.

      Although (wink, wink)… I am willing to wear anything if the logo colors match my blue GAP purchased sports shorts.

      Maybe a logo embellished with the words “No mas masks!”

    (note - Sports editor Klas Stolpe’s column PURE SOLE is satire and hyperbole of his life)

    Above - JDHS cheerleaders during a recent game. Below - The JDHS pep band during a recent game.

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