For a shining moment early this summer, Americans breathed easier, removed their masks and gladly rolled up their sleeves to receive life-saving shots for the greater good.

Maskless people gathered in crowds and many citizens were proud to display their “get out of jail” cards to prove they took both shots for the team.

Tony Blasi

Keep the card handy; mandates are being issued with more to come.

But COVID-19 threw another curve ball because that’s what pathogens do — they mutate to survive — and the virus could not care less about your politics. The delta variant is the latest version of the coronavirus, which continues to spread dread across planet.

Parents must take a moment out their personal struggles to keep it together and annoy your children by asking them how they are feeling, knowing cases and body counts are rising again. If you have been keeping dibs on your kids’ mental health, don’t stop and let them know you are in their corner. The pandemic is not through with us and your child’s health becomes all that more important.

My reaction is not born out fearmongering, but let’s take a hard look at daily, alarming statistics that the New York Times posts each day on its website that might trigger apprehension in any child. I took a peek and 651 Americans succumbed to the virus on Aug. 13, 2021. Let’s do the math and say 651 deaths are the average for one month, which comes out to a startling 18,228 deaths.

According to ”The horrific scale of the 1918 influenza pandemic — known as the “Spanish flu”— is hard to fathom. The virus infected 500 million people worldwide and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims — that’s more than all of the soldiers and civilians killed during World War I. While the global pandemic lasted for two years, a significant number of deaths were packed into three especially cruel months in the fall of 1918.”

Kids are bright and are more in the loop about what goes on in the world than we give them credit. We get frustrated when children become self-absorbed with computers or phones, but I have met dozens of resilient and enlightened athletes who knocked me out of my socks with their talent and brains.

The coronavirus must weigh heavily on children’s emotions. They get it, though, especially with COVID-19 lurking throughout the globe.

Let’s look at what transpired when the country went into a nationwide lockdown in 2020. Schools and colleges closed down and spring sports seasons disappeared over night. Children, who enjoy the classroom experiences and playing sports, were deprived of an environment that also instills valuable life skills.

Schools turned to online learning, using Zoom to conduct classes while this new way to communicate allows us to continue working at home.

When the country locked down, children lost a lifeline, a connection to healthy, good-old fashioned, face-to-face socializing. Athletes and students shared with me their abhorrence toward online learning and were frustrated when sports programs were put on hold. I know teachers  and athletic directors felt the same after COVID-19 struck.

I am no fan of online learning and remain gleeful it was not around when I attended Northeastern University in the 1980s. There wasn’t a day when I found it difficult to hop aboard Massaschusetts’ storied T and get off at Huntington Avenue in Boston to hang out at the Huskies’ cement campus. I enjoyed having in-your-face discussions with my professors and carousing with classmates.

My only concern in high school was becoming a starting center for the football team.

Yes, I am showing my age and disdain toward technology as a teaching tool. One of my Sun Journal cow0rkers believes I was born around 1750 and later fought along side my relatives at Bunker Hill in Boston during the Revolution.

Fall sports practices begin Monday and school is two weeks away — and uncertainty grows as COVID-19 cases rise.

The one thing your child needs and can can count on is your love and genuine concern for their welfare — and that is something your child can’t get from a computer or cellphone.

Tony Blasi has been a staff writer at the Sun Journal for 34 years. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: