LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - No NCAA basketball tournaments. No high school basketball tournaments. Their seasons came to a sudden, deflating end when it was determined in the interest of public health amid the coronavirus pandemic that playing basketball is too risky.
But when WAVE 3 News took a look around Louisville from the east side at Seneca Park to the west side at Wyandotte Park, plenty of basketball courts were packed with pick-up games. At 1:30 p.m. Friday, the parking lot at Wyandotte was jammed with meter-reading trucks as meter readers filled a court. WAVE 3 News tried to ask the players if they thought that was safe social distancing. They wouldn’t talk. Friday evening at Wyandotte, when more courts were full, WAVE 3 News got a chance to talk to some players.
“I'm not really that concerned about it,” Shakieo Boyd said.
“Are you concerned at all?" I asked. “They canceled all these basketball games and tournaments yet you guys are playing, close to each other, playing pickup ball. You ever think about that?"
“No, because it just happened out of nowhere,” Boyd said. “Nothing seemed to change down here. I don’t know nobody that’s affected with it, and none of my friends personally affected with it."
“Does anybody talk about, worry about coronavirus while playing ball out here?” I asked another player.
“Not really,” Zion Hunter said. “We touch the ball, don’t really touch each other, no handshake, nothing like that, always hand sanitize, make sure I don’t touch anyone."
Downtown, almost every time I drove past the homeless shelter at Jefferson and Preston, I saw large crowds of people packed together, passing items hand to hand. Whether it’s raining or not, bus stops were packed with people waiting shoulder to shoulder trying to get someplace, hopefully to a job if they still have one.
People in Kentucky are losing jobs by the tens of thousands over social distancing guidelines. Gov. Andy Beshear said jobless claims are up 30 times over a normal week. And he said he knows it’s having no effect on changing the ways of many others.
“The fact is, we still have folks out there who act like this isn’t true, doesn’t apply to them,” Beshear said. “And everybody who doesn’t abide by the guidelines or who holds a public gathering is undermining the sacrifices everyone else is making.”
Back on the packed courts, they were playing hard and playing it all down.
“Corona has 2 percent death, flu has 1 percent,” Boyd said. “It’s how much media it’s getting. Nobody walks around here and says what do you think about the flu?"