Nick Saban testing positive for COVID was a surprise to the asymptomatic coach. For many football fans, it was sobering.
COVID became more serious for many college football fans Wednesday when it was learned Nick Saban had tested positive. Alabama Crimson Tide fans and others were taken aback upon learning their (our) revered head coach had contracted the virus.
A natural first response was worry about the health prospects of a man, soon to turn 69. Saban’s age alone puts him into a higher risk group from the complications of the virus. Following that was the sobering reality even a seriously careful person, taking all reasonable precautions can become infected. Many did not want to believe that was true.
For months, Nick Saban has been zealously telling all would listen about the virus risk. Reported some weeks ago was one of his frequent meetings with his mother. It was outside, at a safe distance. He told her he could not hug her because he loved her.
Mask-wearing was no sign of weakness for Nick Saban. The man who seeks a plan for everything, did his best to have a virus plan and followed it carefully. That plan will now be amended. It will not be discarded. The football world, including its millions of fans, should take a pause and learn something from this.
A virus does not care who you are or what are your social and political inclinations. It does not care about your economic position, your religious beliefs and certainly not your aversion to inconveniencies. It spreads relentlessly and harms without remorse.
Take notice, one of the mentally toughest men on the planet has become infected. To Nick Saban, not preparing is akin to a cardinal sin. He never underestimates any foe. All that toughness, all the preparation, all the caution was not enough to protect him from the virus.
What all of us want to hear on Thursday is Saban’s test was a false positive. Such results are not uncommon. If not that, we wish for Nick to remain asymptomatic or at worst, suffer only a mild illness. That those wishes are not unconnected to a passion for Alabama football is okay.
What needs to become obvious to more of us, is people have to work together to fight a pandemic. Heed the calls of medical experts. Respect medical science. Value the lives of others.
There are others in the Alabama football program at heightened risk. Greg Byrne also tested positive on Wednesday. There is concern for Cedric Burns who spends more time with Nick Saban than even Miss Terry. Players and other coaches have vulnerabilities. All of which is more important than any football game.