The ultimate ultimatum: Wear a mask or no college football

What if not wearing a mask meant there would be no college football in fall of 2020?

Credit: David Tulis

Credit: David Tulis

What if not wearing a mask meant there would be no college football in fall of 2020?

The next time you balk at wearing a mask think of what might happen if you don’t.

Think of the sad, silent Saturdays on campus, great stadiums going as unused as a vegan’s steak knife. Think of the transfer quarterback at Georgia, his hopes of one great winning season crushed. Think of the coach at Georgia Tech with no one to butter up but himself. Think of just how little you’ll have to talk about with friends and family this fall. Think of the hundreds of athletes who will have little to do but study.  And of all the tuba players with no outlet for their art (if bands are still in the equation, I don’t assume anything anymore). Think of the South without college football, an apocalyptic vision to be sure.

» MORE: Story behind 1918 Georgia Tech mask photo

And it will be all your fault because you couldn’t be bothered to cover up with a mask for five minutes on your way in to buy a toilet flapper at The Home Depot.

Next to an executive mandate, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp just pulled out the heaviest gun yet attempting to get the state to cover its face holes. When asked Wednesday about the prospects of playing that most indispensable game around here — that's still college football until Korean baseball takes over — Kemp responded: "If people, especially our young people, don't start wearing a mask when they're going out in public and our numbers (of coronavirus cases) keep rising, that's going to be a tall task."

Oh, great, now the fate of college football rests in the hands of the most selfish of the species, young people? The same ones who couldn't wait to pack themselves into bars and onto beaches like cattle going to market at the first opportunity?

When it comes to college football, it’s hard enough to trust a young person to run a proper pass route or pick up a blitz. Now we have to rely on him and her to be socially responsible? Looks like your fall weekends are going to be pretty wide open.

Talk about a scare tactic. Kemp couldn’t have touched on much of anything nearer or dearer to a Georgian’s heart than college football. If the threat of wear-a-mask-or-Kirby-Smart-goes-dark doesn’t work, then surely nothing will. Sadly, there’s the very real possibility that in the short term nothing will work.

Of course, such a proposition means that to save a season you must also get people in Alabama to wear a mask. Some tutorials and one angry Nick Saban rant may be necessary.

In this May 20, 2020 photo provided by the University of Alabama, football coach Nick Saban and the school's elephant mascot, Big Al, wear masks on the university campus in Tuscaloosa. Saban recorded a video promoting the use of face masks and social distancing. (AP Photo/Kent Gidley, University of Alabama via AP)

Credit: Kent Gidley

icon to expand image

Credit: Kent Gidley

» CORONAVIRUS: Updates on the spread in Georgia

Look, we get it, wearing a mask is uncomfortable. Who knew there was such a thing as face claustrophobia? Glasses fog. I’ve come to realize my breath isn’t exactly lilac-scented. And while my ficus loves it, carbon dioxide is not my inhalant of choice.

Really, the whole wearing-a-mask thing was the reason I didn’t become a surgeon. The four years of medical school and the long residency may have contributed to the decision as well.

But, honestly, what’s with all the resentment directed at a simple act designed to lend a small bit of comfort and safety to those around you? You’re being asked to wear a mask for a few choice moments, not a burka. It’s a health precaution, not a surrender to the iron fist of Anthony Fauci.

In a situation that from the beginning has spiraled frighteningly out of anyone’s control, here is the one act that gives a person some sense of contributing to a solution. And that’s too much to ask?

As Americans, we all enjoy the right to be a jackhole. But shouldn’t one at least wait to play that card on something more offensive than doing briefly what heroes in hospitals are doing for long hours every day?

The governor would like you to wear a mask.

If you don’t do it for yourself or your elders or for the collective betterment of mankind, then, for heaven’s sake, do it for college football.