The word “fighting” is often associated with the sport of hockey. While in some cases it can have a negative connotation, now more than ever Mainers have a chance to jump into a fight in a positive way.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has changed the way we live, from simple trips to the grocery store to postponing family events and large gatherings, including sporting events. As a former Black Bear, I was looking forward to watching the hockey teams at the University of Maine compete for another NCAA title, and especially right now, I really miss the NHL playoffs.

Around the sports world, I feel for the thousands of Olympians who will have to wait another year to compete in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Because of the travel and risk to public health, I think this was the right call.

Right now, I would love to be working and traveling the country scouting the next generation of talent for the New Jersey Devils, but like many Mainers, my job has changed. Obviously, it’s not just about sports, but the changes for sports are a microcosm for the change across the world. No matter what our passions are, where we live, our lives have changed.

One thing that we cannot allow to change is our resiliency. As Mainers, we are resilient and we are tough, and we always pull together when it counts the most. Whether it was the Blizzard of ’78 or the Ice Storm of ’98, we have always found a way to fight. Whether it is helping a neighbor or helping our community, we know what needs to be done.

During this unprecedented time in our state, our country and across the world, it can be difficult to know what each of us can do to help fight this horrible virus. To use a hockey analogy, we can’t drop our gloves, pull the jersey over the head of the virus and start pummeling it with punches. Instead, this is an invisible opponent that will take so much more of our time, energy and resources.

One way we can all help in the fight is to support and thank the thousands of front-line workers who are confronting the challenges of their work amid the threat of the virus. From doctors and nurses to grocery store employees, from postal workers to car mechanics and for every essential business employee, be sure to thank them. Thank them often. Your gratitude can go a long way to boost their morale.

As Mainers, we also have an opportunity to show the world our commitment to lung health. Did you know the Trek Across Maine cycling event happening right now through June 30 is the largest fundraiser in the country for the American Lung Association? That’s right, since 1985, the event has raised more than $25 million to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research.

This year, funds from the event will go toward the American Lung Association’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Currently, the virtual ride is raising awareness and funds to support research of COVID-19. The goal this year is to raise $1.3 million. However, they are less than 50 percent to their goal. The good news is, there is still time to get involved. Cycling is a great way to get outdoors, practice social distancing and raise funds for a great cause. Let us show the country what Mainers can do to help. You can ride your bike or make a charitable donation at trekacrossmaine.org.

Lastly, I think it is important to remember that we are all stronger together. Just like in sports, sometimes it isn’t the most talented team that wins, sometimes it is the team that works together the best and is all pulling in the same direction. Now more than ever, we need to realize we are all on the same team and we need to stay healthy and strong so we can win this fight.


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