Friday, February 5, 2021

Hockey is back, Beethoven not so much

We are, and long have been, big hockey fans in our house.

We have been season ticket holders for our local American Hockey League team, the Cleveland Monsters, ever since the team came to town in 2007. We have two seats to every game every season.

The 14th of those seasons, COVID-delayed as it has been, starts next Friday as the Monsters host the Rochester Americans.We plan to be there for most of the 14 scheduled home games this winter and spring.

(NOTE: The Monsters were originally supposed to open their season tonight in Rockford, Illinois, but their two games this weekend against the Ice Hogs were postponed for reasons related to COVID protocols.)

I am also a subscriber to The Cleveland Orchestra. That group was planning to begin in-person concerts in early March, and I had intended to be there.

Sadly, however (and perhaps not surprisingly), I received an email from the Orchestra this week announcing the cancellation of live concerts this spring. They tried hard to make it work, but considering the advanced average age of a symphony orchestra audience, this decision is likely for the best.

Instead, they will continue offering online "virtual" concerts every couple of weeks, as they have been since the fall.

The question of live event attendance nowadays is an understandably sticky one. Is it safe? What precautions are being put in place? What risk is involved, and is it worth the utter joy of moving back toward something resembling normalcy?

In the case of both the Monsters and the Orchestra, I felt comfortable that the proper steps had been taken to keep audience members like me safe. For hockey there will be limited seating, social distancing, mask wearing, plenty of hand sanitizer, etc.

I am 51 years old and healthy. The typical hockey attendee is even younger and healthier than me. It all seems relatively safe.

Still, I completely understand the rationale of those who believe otherwise and opt out of this shortened season.

I just can't wait for the day when it's not even a question anymore.

Go Monsters, and uh, go Orchestra!

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