Full contact is back. The MLS is Back tournament is over and the next part of the MLS season is underway. Getting back on the field and playing at full capacity feels so nice.
When the MLS set up a tournament in Orlando, we were very excited to get back on the field and compete. They had created a bubble for us to be able to play safely in. But what we didn’t know when we arrived there was that two of our FC Dallas players had brought COVID with them. And before our test results came back, we were practicing full-contact soccer with them. The result was that eight or nine more players contracted COVID and all of us were quarantined. We were stuck in our hotel rooms for 14 days. Our training consisted of us doing drills up and down the 10-foot hall in our hotel — for 14 days. We were so relieved to be able to go back to Dallas afterward.
There is so much we still don’t know about this virus. It stinks living in the unknown, wondering whether or not you’re going to get it and what effects it will have on you, for both the short term and the long term. How do we travel safely? How do we stay in hotels safely? How do we do team meetings and competitions safely?
There are some who really don’t care if they get the virus or not. Then there are some who are very fearful. With family members at risk back home, they’re afraid of getting sick and passing it along to others. There are a few of my teammates who have gotten COVID and have pregnant wives at home. One of my teammates had to fly home immediately from the tournament because his pregnant wife did contract the virus. With young kiddos at home myself, I don’t want to bring the virus home. I’m trying to be cautious.
There are only 10-12 of us on the team who have not gotten the virus yet. In my mind, we have to be smart. No one knows how to deal with this and we’re all trying our best. Personally, I disagree that churches should be gathering. I can see what they’re trying to accomplish, but it seems very unwise to me. It’s almost as if they have a lack of understanding of the power of God. God can meet people in different places, outside of the church building.
Look at the early churchgoers, they were always meeting in small groups in people’s homes. This is what it means to have a Biblical community. Yes, having no church gatherings isn’t ideal, nor is it a good long-term solution, but for now, we have to be safe and protect our neighbors. We have to maintain social distancing and find creative ways to meet with our brothers and sisters.
As Pastor John Piper often says, “Don’t waste suffering.” As Christ-followers, we need to use this time to sanctify, grow and become who God is making us to be. And even if the worst-case scenario does happen, I have faith in God that He is still good. My hope in Him is secure.
— Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas midfielder/defender
Ryan Hollingshead is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Ryan’s Increase profile here.
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