Krank's COVID Saga
Drew Wiseham. Tournaments.
‘It was bound to happen at some point…someone had to be the team that had a positive case.’
This is the last thing you want to hear from your captain before you’ve qualified for Nationals. Yet here we were, a squad of 22 reduced to 14, each of us awaiting a negative RAT (and for the rain to abate), so we could go out and play our game-to-go.
Before the weekend, a few gents from the team had felt something more than just nervous excitement in the build up to Regionals. Somewhere in the saucepan of germs that was UOW’s O-Week, the annual Gong Beer-Mile, and general everyday life, three players had to pull the pin on driving up to Raymond Terrace.
In light of this, at a low-numbers training, one of our captains recommend we get a RAT before coming up, ‘Better to be safe.’
The team Slack channel became a flurry of awkward selfies, a thread of negative results. Fortunately, the closest thing we had to another positive case was Sam—giving us all heart palpitations with his characteristically smartass post:
‘REDACTED is positive…’
On Sunday morning, the news of this test result was enough to elicit more than the usual four-letter morning-of-day-two swear words. Behind the scenes, captains were huddled outside motel rooms. Breakfast ensued. An uneasy feeling spread around the team as we heard the news.
This is an unfortunate reality of playing with COVID. The tournament director confirmed that the positive player was out. Everyone who had dinner in the same room as them had to get a RAT test. And everyone staying in their room was also out.
Other teams at the tournament were informed that we had had a positive case. A spare field was sourced and I-Beam graciously allowed us to push back the start time of our qualifying match.
Our game plan was: Win. This was the one game that mattered. The way we saw it, this was the most important game of the whole tournament, and there was no better way to do it than with a Steel City rivalry.
With ⅓ of our team now out, and no way to get fitter before the game, it boiled down to mental strength. The outlook didn’t look good from us at the outset, with I-Beam able to get a couple of early breaks.
Then we started to get some traction, possibly thanks to the rain. With a season of wet weather training sessions under our belt, and the unfazed full-field hucks from Andy Mitchell (with an English Summer grin plastered on his face), we found our feet and stepped up a gear.
But before I reveal any state secrets, I’ll stop the game recap there. All I’ll say is that Kevin Dang is a hero, and we won on universe.
While we had more games to play on Sunday, we’ll remember these early celebrations and “proud dad” moments. And we’ll never forget the shirtless hollering from the boys isolating in the car park, and the energy they lent us in moments that mattered.
See you at Nationals, folks. Here comes the red. #Krank22.