symptoms continue affecting
the incarcerated at The Q.
The COVID beast came through San Quentin and tore through sports enthusiast like a tornado. Although the quarantine lockdowns has been fluctuating, some resident athletes have been doing everything in their power to defeat that looming COVID monster by any means.
“Whenever quarantine lock downs happen, I just work out in my cell and I watch basketball games on TV to continue learning the game,” said Keyshawn “Steez” Strickland, the One- and Two-Guard for the San Quentin Warriors.
The 6’2” leading scoring guard said that they [Staff] should treat the COVID virus like it’s just a case of the regular FLU now and that the incarcerated should not have to be quarantined any more for it. Strickland said that the protocols slow down athletes and the general population from becoming better people.
“Sports help me to be a better man,” Strickland said. “It helps me be patient and have integrity. We get to work with other people and build our tolerance for others. That’s what’s needed out there in today’s world.”
The COVID monster has affected relatively every part of the prison. Most days the Field of Dreams, located on the Lower Yard, is filled with tiny dust spirals of winds. It is also desolate with only the Canadian Geese and seagulls using it as their bathroom.
A toppled-over volleyball net occupied the abandoned section of the red clay at third base of the baseball field. The outfield was barren until the All-In intramural football team held a practice one Friday morning. That day was going fine on the muddy yard until, over the loud intercom, came the bearer of bad news: a C/O’s blaring voice echoing out, “West Block recall!”
Coach Carlos Smith was forced to stop the process of running drills with his team and leave the field. Fortunately for him, his entire team is from the West Block Housing Unit where he’s located. After finding out that the building was quarantined, Coach Smith assembled his team and started running drills on the West Block Upper Yard.
“I believe that practice must go on,” said Smith. “Because that’s what brings us together and help keep us stay positive. So, being on quarantine do not matter.”
The hard concrete was a much different surface to maneuver on for his new players. But, Coach Smith told his new arrival Phillip Church, who weighed in at 446 pounds at nose tackle, to show up and to be open-minded.
“He plays with heart and I like that. He shows up and I accept all what he has to give on the field. I’m proud of him and all the team for their dedication,” said Smith.
The scare of the COVID monster quarantine lockdowns have athletes performing mental gymnastics and preventing some residents athletes from achieving their goals of rehabilitation, with the protocols seeming to change daily in the prison. However, most of the athletes are not allowing COVID to stop them from preparing for the next season of sports.