It is official. The latest trend in unreasonable health hysteria has arrived and Swine Flu be thy name.
SARS is totally passé. Avian Flu is so 2006. The latest thing that the news tells me will be the death of civilization is the Swine Flu, which is caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus.
I have very little knowledge of medical science or biology, but based on the graphics packages that news channels have been combining with music that is usually reserved for violent action flicks, I assume the swine flu causes victims' eyeballs to explode out of their skulls while their faces melt like the Nazis who opened the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Much like every other current event that impacts our community, we here in the Sports Department tend to not pay much attention until it has an effect on our beloved sports programs.
I thought we were safe from having to worry, then I read about Texas and Alabama.
Texas recently postponed all high school sports events until May 11 due to fears of further swine flu contamination. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the West, Alabama has chosen to postpone high school sports championships until at least next week.
To make matters worse, a case of the swine flu was confirmed Monday for a teenage boy who lives in Henry County.
As many bumper stickers have told me, it is not a good idea to mess with Texas.
If this virus is tough enough to stand up to the second largest state in the Union, then what chance does little ol' Georgia have?
Although seasonal Flu has killed more than 13,000 Americans since January, according to the Center for Disease Control, Swine Flu is suspected to have come from across the Rio Grande, and anyone who has crossed the border to purcahse fire works or alcohol, there is always more bang for your buck in Mexico. This is even true true of barely-fatal diseases.
The disease has already claimed its first American casualty in a little 23-month year old who traveled with his family from Mexico to Texas before falling ill and finally succumbing.
I've seen kids take a lot of punishment while covering sporting events. I've seen a basketball player go up for a dunk, lose his grip and come crashing down onto his head, I've seen a female soccer player take out a goalie with a running punch and I've seen a football player hit so hard, he went airborne.
I'm sure that any one of the above activites would be severe enough to take out a two-year old, but that's not the point.
Head injuries are not contagious. Sneezing is.
I've seen what happens when outbreaks are not properly contained and Dustin Hoffman came pretty close to not saving the small town of Cedar Creek in at least one of those instances.
Nevertheless, while I fully expect this outbreak to become a pandemic that decimates almost all humans on Earth, leaving two groups, who are inherently good and evil and must inevitably do battle as Stephen King forewarned in The Stand, sports must go on.
If Georgia high school athletes, in particular our local competitors, can stand up to Mother Nature and let the championship games begin, then I promise I will be there to bravely by their side to report on it.
I'll be the one in the hazmat suit.
Zack Huffman is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org