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Where the Coronavirus Is Not Stopping Sports: Las Vegas | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Where the Coronavirus Is Not Stopping Sports: Las Vegas

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It was hard not to be aware of the heightened concerns at the Pac-12 women’s tournament, which was held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. There were hand sanitizers — some of them empty — at almost every turn in the hallway corridors, where locker rooms, dining areas and media work rooms were situated. Workers wiped disinfectant on the railings that ran down the middle of aisles during each quarter as well as vacant seats.

This was a comfort to some — including Stanford’s coach, Tara VanDerveer, whose mother sat behind the bench. They had discussed her staying home. “But she said: ‘No. I’m healthy. I’m 92½ and I want to come,’” VanDerveer said. “She’s having a blast.”

On the court, precautions aside, there was little out of the ordinary.

“We were told at the beginning of the tournament not to take too many pictures with fans and not to have too much physical contact with people you don’t know,” said Satou Sabally, a forward for Oregon. “The longer this week went on, the less fearful people were about touching each other.”

Myah Pace, a guard for the University of San Diego, said that fist bumps and elbow bumps had replaced handshakes when team captains met with referees before games and that players had been more cautious at practice. “But I’m not going to lie,” Pace said. “When the ball goes up and the game starts, we’re all in it and all that kind of goes out the window.”

Indeed, postgame handshake lines proceeded as normal at the tournaments.

Josh Therrien, the Gonzaga men’s trainer, said he was bringing extra hand sanitizer to team meals and meetings, reminding players to stay hydrated and nourished, and monitoring anyone for flulike symptoms, which often crop up at this time of year. Last week, there was a meeting at which Athletic Director Mike Roth laid out how the university was monitoring developments. “We try to get our information from Johns Hopkins and the C.D.C.,” Roth said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “And not from Twitter.”


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