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Friday, February 26, 2021

No tennis or pickleball doubles in Purple Tier starting today, unless....

As I noted in an earlier post, the California Department of Public Health recently issued a new order that limits tennis and pickleball to singles only in COVID19 Purple Tier counties in the state. Ace has been discussing this with the SoCal USTA - they've been releasing new schedules for doubles tourneys and leagues recently. 

Photo Credit: ©F.J. Maccioli

My contact at SoCal USTA correctly pointed out that in the fine print on the state website, doubles MAY be played in Purple Tier counties IF the adjusted COVID19 case rate is less than 14 per 100,000 people. It turns out that in Southern California, that includes Los Angeles, Imperial, and Orange Counties, which are at 12.3,  8.9, and 11.9 cases per 100,000 people. 

But, that still isn't the case for Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern, Fresno, or most other counties in the San Joaquin Valley. I don't know about you, but, I'm not traveling a couple of hundred miles just to play doubles.

Even so, this loophole still recommends that you wear a facemask if playing doubles. Shoot, I can do that (see above) - I already wear it when jogging, biking, or running on my treadmill, but, I don't know of too many other people who will.

Anyway, if you want to play doubs - that's how ya can do it. Just sayin'!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Research study shows tennis and other sports balls show little potential for transferring COVID19 virus by hand

Ace was getting ready for the California shutdown tomorrow of doubles tennis in all California COVID19 Purple tiers when he came across this bit of encouraging news.

Early on in the pandemic, when little was known about the virus, it was thought mainly to be transmitted by people touching objects upon which it had landed. Many wondered if one could catch it from sports balls - footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, tennis balls, etc., but, no one had done any research to see if it was true or not.

Well, it turns out some research scientists had the same question - I don't know if they play tennis or not - and ran some experiments with deactivated viruses to find out.

What they found was that, yes, the virus can be detected on tennis balls, but, after rolling around, bouncing, etc., it all disappears from the ball. So, the chances of picking it up by touching your balls (gee, I ALWAYS laugh when I say that for some reason) is minimal.

But, you can still get it if your opponent or doubles partner sneezes in your face I guess.

Anyway, here's a link to the paper published in PubMed Central (PMC) at the U.S. National Institute of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).

It's a tough read at times - I suppose because these research guys got into science because they never learned how to tell a story in simple terms.

Monday, February 22, 2021

MY CULINARY MASTERPIECE - REDUX - A middle aged Italian-American from Bakersfield, CA, seeks fame and glory from his Italian cooking skills.

I was trying to start up an old Dell XPS Windows XP computer today - planned to use it for photo/video editing - but then the motherboard committed suicide after about 45 minutes. However, before it's dying scream, I was able to find this old article I once wrote for Yahoo several years ago. You can't find it anymore because they deleted all of the Yahoo Contributor articles.

But, lo and behold, it was still on the old computer (which led me to my back-up drives that also had a copy). So, once again, here is:


Photo Credit:

I'm Italian. I like to eat. I especially like to cook. 

I come from a family of cooks, thousands of Macciolis from Abruzzi. Every single one of us has cooked. But no one has ever had a chance to make a living at it, including me. Until now.

I'm at the Cooking for Italian American Officeworkers (CIAO) national headquarters in New York City. They've partnered with The Food Network to organize a competition for the best Italian cooks in the states. First prize is a 5-year sponsorship to develop cookbooks and tour the country, demonstrating Italian cooking skills to the nation.

I entered. I was accepted. I'm here now, waiting in the wings to be introduced.

The Master of Ceremonies starts the show, playing to the audience with his stupid Italian jokes. The crowd laughs like they always do, even the TV cameramen, managing to keep their cameras focused despite their laughter.

I've been sitting here, watching my competition - the cannoli maker, the meatball man, the puttanesca expert. Amateurs. Hacks. They have nothing on me. Just one more and I'm on. Glory bound.

The prosciutto sandwich maker finishes. He exits the stage to a smattering of applause. The emcee reaches for the microphone. I straighten my tie and brush back my hair. I make sure my fly is zipped. It's my turn now.

He announces my name and I walk to the stage to warm applause. I take my place in the make shift stage kitchen.

"Mr. Maccioli, " the emcee shouts, "will be presenting his interpretation of one of the marvels of Italian cuisine. One of the greatest dishes of any culinary style. He will show us how to make the perfect plate of ravioli!"

The crowd cheers. I see a few giving me a standing ovation in anticipation. My whole life flashes before me as I savor the moment. My chance has finally arrived. Things will never be the same now.

I approach the microphone. I clear my throat. I take one last look across the auditorium and then begin to speak.

"First, you get a can-opener. . . "


Saturday, February 20, 2021

California issues new restrictions for youth and adult sports. Bans doubles for tennis and pickleball in Purple tier.

The California Department of Public Health (CaDPH) has just issued new guidance for just about every youth and adult team and individual sport. Of particular interest to those people, like good ol' yours truly, Ace, is that tennis (and pickleball) in Purple tier regions is limited to singles only!!!


Photo Credit: ©F.J. and K.C. Maccioli

This will adversely impact several local tournaments currently planned for Kern County, SoCal, and other areas across the state, including right here in Bakersfield which is in the Purple tier. 

Of course, that depends upon whether the local tennis powers to be decide to comply with California's directives, something that many public tennis facilities and private tennis clubs have refused to do in the past! 

Until a county exits the Purple tier, which seems doubtful for Kern County and Bakersfield because of their lack of enforcement of previous COVID19 restrictions, doubles in the above sports, as well as several other sports categories, may not occur.

The new guidance takes effect on February 26, 2021. The ball's in your court USTA and UTR - what are you going to do now?

Friday, February 12, 2021

Did a tennis tournament cause Melbourne, Australia's 5-day lockdown yesterday?

The city of Melbourne, Australia, site of this year's Australian Open tennis tournament, has just imposed a new 5-day lockdown for all residents. The lockdown is the result of a new cluster of at least 13 cases of the new UK coronavirus variant. The outbreak was traced to a Melbourne Holiday Inn, one of several hotels in the city where international travelers must quarantine themselves for 14 days upon entering the city.

There has been much speculation about the impact of tennis players and their entourages (and fans) from around the world coming to Melbourne for the tournament and what impact that would have on a city (and country) that had seemingly fought off the worst of the virus months ago. Several well known tennis pros have complained about the quarantine restrictions, generating adverse publicity for them as rich, prima donnas who only care about themselves.

But this latest news only proves the seriousness of this pandemic and that, even in Australia, it hasn't truly gone away.

The lockdown was announced by Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews and began at midnight on Friday, forcing spectators at the tournament to leave the stands in the middle of a 5-set thriller between Serbia's world #1 Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz of the United States. 

Djokovic has been notorious this past year for his comments and actions in regards to the COVID19 pandemic, including his comments prior to this year's Australian Open.

In announcing the new lockdown, Andrews said, "We must assume that there are further cases in the community than we have positive results for, and that it is moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months."

He also said that the tennis tournament, which had already been restricted to 50% capacity,  would be allowed to continue as it is considered to be a workplace. However, no spectators will be allowed and only players and the minimum amount of staff to run it safely will be permitted.