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Houston Hoo

Joined: 01/04/2001 Posts: 962
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A story. (Long, but I think you're completely off-base about McKoy)

I agree with your general point that Virginia faced teams that played with more "fire" this year, and I also found it frustrating that this year's team seemed to play with less of a sense of purpose than other recent Virginia squads (we can leave for another time whether Gardner will replace Hauser's "production," which I think is a hard question).

But I don't think it's fair--at all--to call out Justin McKoy for a lack of determination because of his positive Covid test. MAYBE that's what happened. But there is absolutely no guarantee on that score.

I speak from personal experience.

Of course, you may have some inside information about precisely HOW Justin ended up with a positive test during the ACC tourney. If so, please DON'T share it--people have already thrown enough blame around--but it would be nice to know that you're not just making the unwarranted assumptions you appear to be making.

This leads me to my story:

My son initially considered playing volleyball in college, but ultimately decided to attend an academically elite school that does not have a men's volleyball program. Instead, he is a manager for the women's team at his school. That team earned a rare at-large NCAA berth this year from what is typically a one-bid league when the committee decided that a stellar regular season including a couple of huge out-of-conference wins against big-time programs overcame their loss in their conference tournament finals.

As a reward for a year of hard and thankless work, my son was invited to join the traveling party for the tournament, and he entered the volleyball bubble in Omaha after receiving negative Covid test results on three consecutive tests as required by NCAA rules.

It was hardly surprising that he tested negative before going to Omaha in late April. After all, despite being obsessive about mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, etc., he (and ultimately the rest of our family) actually HAD Covid back in December, catching it from our thirteen-year-old son who. . . let's be honest . . . is not nearly as obsessed with taking protective steps as the rest of us are/were. (For what it's worth, the virus wasn't much fun for any of us, but we all made it through with relatively mild cases--we're thankful.)

We were also unsurprised that he tested negative before going to Omaha because he was actually four weeks past his SECOND vaccination when the NCAA tournament started. (In February, he more or less lucked into getting the vaccination far earlier than most 19-year-olds because his local health department had a freezer fail and they had a bunch of Moderna vaccines they had to use before they went bad--that entitled him to both the initial shot from the batch that would otherwise have expired and to the follow-up shot in mid-March).

The team was in Omaha for several days before their first tournament game, and my son and the rest of the traveling party tested negative every day -- until game day.

On the day of their opening-round game, the entire traveling party received a text message that one of them (not my son) had tested positive for the virus earlier that morning, but that because of the specifics of that person's contact-tracing situation, the team could still play that night if that person self-isolated and if every OTHER member of the traveling party tested negative on an additional test to be administered immediately. (For what it's worth, the person who triggered the additional test actually DID have Covid, but by all accounts had been incredibly careful themselves -- airborne viruses are nasty things even when you take all the precautions you're supposed to).

They brought everyone to the testing facility and swabbed their noses. Thirty minutes later (and less than thirty minutes before game time), they told my son that he had tested positive and that the team would therefore have to forfeit its game. [As an aside, this was in direct violation of the NCAA's own Covid protocol for that tournament, which required two-out-of-three positive Covid tests for someone to "have Covid" for contact tracing purposes. They said they didn't have enough time to give him another test before the game, so his team had to go home.]

My son explained that he had already had the virus (showing them his positive test result from December), explained that he had already received both Moderna vaccine shots more than two weeks earlier (showing them his vaccination card, which he carried with him), and noted that he had no symptoms of any illness. To no avail. His team's magical season was over.

I was out of town for work, so my wife had to fly to Omaha and drive my son back to school because they would not let either of the traveling party members who had tested positive fly back on the chartered team plane.

At the head coach's request, my son got a 30-minute rapid antigen test in Omaha before he and my wife started driving him back to school. Negative.

Because of that negative test, the head coach asked my son to get a regular PCR test as well; we scheduled one at what a physician friend described as the best testing center in a large city on the route back to his college. Negative.

But even with two negative tests in a row (plus proof of vaccination and proof of having had and recovered from the virus months ago), his college required him to take yet ANOTHER traditional PCR test before letting him back into the dorm. Guess what? Negative.

I am thankful that D-1 women's volleyball has only a tiny fraction of the followers that major-conference D-1 men's basketball has. I am also thankful that, to the best of my knowledge, neither my son's name nor the name of the other traveling party member who tested positive ever leaked to the public.

Even so, I spent the better part of two days watching idiots in the Twitterverse and elsewhere on social media effectively accusing my son (though thankfully not by name) of exactly the sort of irresponsible behavior of which you are accusing Justin McKoy. And I spent two days watching my son rip himself up inside both because of the stupid internet crap he made the poor decision to read AND because it took far longer than it should have for the team's players to realize that my son was not even slightly to blame for their getting bounced from the tourney.

Let's recap: My son wore a mask and followed all other safety recommendations religiously at all times (so much so that some of his fellow students made fun of him for it). He nonetheless caught Covid at home from my less-careful son in December and was fully recovered by early January. He had his first vaccine shot in February, and his second shot on schedule in mid-March. And because he is careful and conscientious, he kept wearing his mask and kept engaging in social distancing even after it became extraordinarily unlikely that he could actually catch or transmit the virus again. In the nine days surrounding his team's first scheduled NCAA tournament game, he had a total of TEN Covid tests. He tested negative on nine of the ten--six negatives before the scheduled game (including one on game day) and three after the forfeit, with his only positive coming from a purported "30-minute PCR test" that the NCAA administered less than an hour before the game (for what it's worth, this particular test has never been approved by the FDA but the NCAA was using it anyway).

Maybe Justin McKoy took less care than he should have in the days leading up to the ACC tournament. Heck, for all I know he spent the days before leaving for Greensboro running around Charlottesville getting sick-looking people to cough on his unprotected face just for kicks. But unless you have some inside knowledge about his situation, it is pretty darned arrogant and unjustifiably judgmental for you to state conclusively that his positive test "was avoidable if he wanted it enough."

MAYBE your statement could be true if by "wanting it enough" you mean "going full John Travolta a la The Boy in the Plastic Bubble." But Covid is a uniquely transmissible airborne virus. Unless you know something specific that I don't, there are at least two possibilities that would NOT have involved McKoy being reckless or irresponsible: (1) a false positive of the sort my son obviously experienced; or (2) catching a highly contagious airborne virus from some random vector DESPITE taking all appropriate precautions. While masks/social distancing/handwashing/etc. are all good ideas, they are not foolproof. To some degree, they just give us the illusion of control.


(In response to this post by davemcsr)

Posted: 06/10/2021 at 3:18PM


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Current Thread:
These guys like our chances with Traudt -- Hoos1&1 06/10/2021 06:12AM
  Stat lines don’t tell the whole story -- davemcsr 06/10/2021 12:26PM
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  That would be a fantastic but outside outcome -- Toolie92 06/10/2021 2:29PM
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  But we faced teams with fire… -- davemcsr 06/10/2021 1:39PM
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  Need to do it this weekend on the visit imo ** -- ftlhoo625 06/10/2021 10:36AM
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  Zero chance -- Galileo24 06/10/2021 07:41AM
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  Our recruiting has suffered due to your dereliction of duty** -- confuzionrains 06/10/2021 08:27AM
  Unless you are referring to MSU then wronggggggg ** -- naughty_hoo 06/10/2021 08:03AM
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  Nor have I -- naughty_hoo 06/10/2021 11:06AM
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  They are friends ... -- Chris Horne  06/10/2021 11:15AM

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