Voting In Brookline: Polls Open | Brookline, MA Patch - Brookline, MA Patch

Voting In Brookline: Polls Open | Brookline, MA Patch - Brookline, MA Patch Voting In Brookline: Polls Open | Brookline, MA Patch - Brookline, MA Patch Posted: 03 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST BROOKLINE, MA —It's Election Day in Brookline, Tuesday, Nov. 3. It's also the final day of voting after weeks of early voting and mail in voting for the 2020 general election. In addition to the presidential and congressional races, there are several key races at the state and local level, as well as five ballot questions. Voting was different this year thanks to rules approved to expand early and mail-in voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic. If you haven't voted already, we've got you. First: head to the Secretary of State's website to check your voter status and find your polling place . Voting on Election Day Polls in Massachusetts are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can also use the Secretary of State's w

My Two Cents: Reason For Optimism for Football in the Fall as Indiana Starts to Re-Open - Sports Illustrated

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana governor Eric Holcomb has spoken, and there is hope. So has Indiana University president Michael McRobbie, and there is reason for optimism.

We all want normal. We want to go back to our favorite stores, our favorite bars, our favorite gyms, our favorite restaurants. We want to see our quarantined family members that we miss terribly. We want a haircut. We want to go to a game, or at least watch one on TV.

We want a haircut. (Did I mention that already?) We want ... normal.

But what this COVID-19 pandemic has done is tip normal on its side, and shaken it vigorously. It took the end of the college basketball seasons away from us, and we were REALLY looking forward to see how that was going to turn out. Then it took away all the spring college sports and sent all the students home. That was harsh, but necessary.

It was hard to see THIS school year end the way it did, but as soon as it was over, it was just too easy to look ahead. What happens NEXT school year? It's easy to immediately flash forward to the 2020 football season and wonder ... so much.

Will we have a football season? Will there be students on campus, or just living inside Zoom screens? Will doors swing back open to all our favorite places? And if so, then when?

There are best-case and worst-case scenarios for what our lives will look like come the fall, and what's most important is that the start of college football games are still four months away. A lot can happen to "the normal'' between now and then.

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On Friday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb rolled out a five-phase plan to re-open business in the state, and he's hoping everything can be full-go by July 4. (USA TODAY)

Gov. Holcomb rolled out his five-step plan to re-open Indiana on Friday, with the goal being to re-ignite the economy AND keep people safe. I refuse to engage in any sort of political debate here, but what he's done is give us the opportunity to get back out there and do things — smartly. We can go to a restaurant operating at 50 percent capacity soon, but we can't sit side-by-side at a bar, for now. Each week, things will get looser, and the hope is we'll still be smart enough with social distancing and the like that the COVID numbers don't spike in the weeks to come. 

Holcomb wants Indiana back to normal by July 4. And to me, that sounds great. It remains to be seen, though, if that can become reality, because fighting a virus like this only works if your weakest links are on board, too.

Do I have faith in that? Absolutely not.

In the span of 48 hours, I have seen people at their worst. I saw one man vow to not shop at a well-established local store anymore because he was required to wear a mask to get in. 

I have seen another one complain that his rights were being violated when he was asked to maintain a proper social distance in a grocery story. I saw another clown on social media say that, as an American, he "has the right to cough in the face of anyone I want to.''  That's pure idiocy.

And I even saw one woman say that she didn't want to wear masks out in public because she didn't have enough colors to match all her outfits. I can't shake my head any harder, because the way this virus travels, our lives depend on all those people, too.

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Indiana president Michael McRobbie distributed a letter Thursday with five scenarios for what might happen this fall with students in Bloomington, and the first two include having students back on campus.

It's easy to think some of the best and brightest students in the country would know better if they came back to Bloomington on time. On Thursday, Michael McRobbie, Indiana's president, laid out five scenarios for what the fall semester might look like in Bloomington. Scenario 1 — my favorite — is that all students are back on campus in the fall, with adjustments made for social distancing in large classrooms and such.

Scenario 2, which McRobbie calls most likely, would be a hybrid learning environment, with in-person classes taking place, but with as much being done online as possible. Scenarios 3-5 are worrisome. They deal with no students on campus in the fall and all classes taught virtually (Scenario 3); going back to virtual classes in the spring after in-person attempts fail in the fall because of another outbreak (Scenario 4); and (Scenario 5) a full year of virtual teaching, which McRobbie calls "the most difficult of all'' ideas.

From a sports perspective, let's be honest. We're talking about college football here right now, because it is a billion-dollar industry that — at many colleges around the country — pays for the ENTIRE men's and women's sports programs. 

The idea of not having a season at all is a death wish for ALL college sports because of the billions lost. And this isn't just about well-paid coaches. A typical college football weekend in Bloomington is financially CRITICAL for all the people who work in bars and restaurants and hotels and shops, both here and beyond. A lost football season impacts THOUSANDS of lives financially. (Full disclosure: It would affect my financial situation, too.)

So, for now, we have plans in place for a new normal. We have scenarios for how to deal with it all once August rolls around and school is ready to resume. For now, all we can really do is wait and see. And hope. And pray, if that's your thing.

In my opinion, you cannot have a fall college football season if there are no students on campus. That's why those first two scenarios of McRobbie's make the most sense if we want some form of normalcy this fall. And that's why July 1 is probably a drop-dead day for a decision on college football in the fall.

And how will college football work if some schools decide to bring students back in August but others want to wait until January? Is it possible that there is a college football season in some parts of the country, and other schools simply choose not to play? That is, at present, certainly a possibility.

The problem with making all these decisions as it relates to college football is that there is no true "final say'' when it comes to that sport. You'd think it would be the NCAA, but they have very little control over what goes on in college football these days. There is no central office. The SEC often simply does what it wants. The Big Ten does, too, for that matter, on certain issues. These Power 5 conferences — the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 — have far more say over college football decisions than the NCAA does.

There are haves and have nots as well in college sports. All things are created equal, but some schools are more equal that others. A smart-mouth Harvard president isn't going to tell Alabama or LSU whether or not they can play football this fall. Some California politician can't tell the Big Ten to shut down either, but it is going to be very interesting if some schools in the middle of COVID-19 hotspots simply say, go on without us and we'll see you next year. Really?

There is time to figure all this out, of course. The clock is ticking, and fingers are crossed. There are phases and scenarios that I like, and that I hope will work successfully. 

It's so weird seeing Bloomington as a ghost town. It's been strange that you could fire a cannon down Kirkwood Avenue in March and April and not hit anyone. Bloomington, our great college town, needs to come to life again — but only in the right way. We need to be safe. We need to be smart. We need to keep EVERYONE alive.

See you in the fall? I sure hope so.

Related stories on college football

  • PAT FORDE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COLUMN: There's no rush to make a decision on the 2020 college football season. CLICK HERE
  • SEC COMMISSIONER FULL-GO: Greg Sankey says that the SEC is planning on schools being open in the fall and games starting as scheduled. CLICK HERE
  • TOM ALLEN ON FALL FOOTBALL: Indiana's football coach said there's "still more questions than answers'' about what lies ahead. CLICK HERE


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