David Biggs writes that the coronavirus that’s gripped the whole world in its toxic claws has certainly changed the pattern of our daily lives. File photo: Reuters
David Biggs writes that the coronavirus that’s gripped the whole world in its toxic claws has certainly changed the pattern of our daily lives. File photo: Reuters

With everything gone virtual, what’s next?

By David Biggs Time of article published Jul 6, 2021

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The coronavirus that’s gripped the whole world in its toxic claws has certainly changed the pattern of our daily lives. It’s not just about wearing masks and keeping sanitised.

We’re turning into “virtual” creatures. Increasingly, people and organisations are avoiding direct contact and relying on electronic communication. Virtual meetings and conferences mean the participants can sit in front of computers in their own offices or homes and have a face-to-face chat with people in another city — or even on the other side of the world.

Universities and schools have been arranging virtual lectures and lessons, where students and pupils (I refuse to use that horrible word “learners“) can sit at home and see and hear their teachers or lecturers.

I regularly watch television news programmes in which interviewers chat to politicians and sports personalities, apparently sitting on opposite sides of the table, whereas we know one is in Paris and the other is in Guatemala, or Greece, or wherever.

The next logical step in the Virtual Revolution is to hold virtual sporting events. Just think how safe the Tokyo Olympics would be, for example, if competitors didn’t actually share a stadium or track and puff virus laden breath all over each other. You could have a sprinter in a Moscow studio, competing virtually against a sprinter in a London studio and another in Brazil.

They’d all crouch down for the start, the starter would fire a starting pistol in Pretoria and the runners would dash off along their individual virtual tracks. When they crossed the virtual finish line, a computer would announce which athlete had run the fastest and what time it had taken each one to complete the virtual race.

A virtual gold medal would be dispatched by EFT to the winner’s email address. Events like javelin, shot-putt, archery, high-jump and discus would be easy to stage virtually.

Some sports, like wrestling, boxing and fencing might pose a problem, but you could always arrange for opponents to shadow-box, or shadow-wrestle, in their own countries, film them and splice the films together to find out who won.

Just think of the huge number of coronavirus contacts that would be avoided and the vast savings in travel and accommodation that could be achieved if virtual sports events became widely accepted.

And all those unnecessary playing fields, race tracks and swimming pools could be converted into much-needed housing for the poor.

Just a suggestion.

Last Laugh

Life is pretty tough for businessmen these days. Two shop owners met on a Cape Town street corner last Tuesday and the one said sympathetically: “Hey, I’m sorry to hear about the fire that destroyed your shop.”

The other man looked around nervously and then said: “Shhh! Not so loud. The fire’s only next Wednesday.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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