New freedoms and new responsibility

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 3/11/21

So this is what normal feels like. Sort of.  When you’re reading this column, it will likely be on the anniversary of the day the world shut down. I was watching the Nuggets game last year on …

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New freedoms and new responsibility


So this is what normal feels like. Sort of. 

When you’re reading this column, it will likely be on the anniversary of the day the world shut down. I was watching the Nuggets game last year on Wednesday, the 11thof March, and it was a weird game. Shortly after that game started, the news broke that other N.B.A. games were suspended that night due to COVID; before the game was over, the news broke that the NBA was suspending the season. The next day, I went to school and was informed that that would be the last week in person for some time, as school districts across the state shut down to prevent further spread of the — at that time —poorly understood novel coronavirus and its resultant disease.

This past week, my teaching partner and I were, for the first time all year, allowed to travel to two schools in a single day. I know — that doesn’t really sound like all that big a deal. But for the beginning of this school year, to foster contact tracing and to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus from one building to another, we have been limited in our physical travels. That means, for us, we have only been able to see our students live, in person, once every two weeks.

Have you ever tried to learn a brand new skill, which has both intellectual and physical components, but only got to practice once every two weeks? Imagine learning to play baseball, but only throwing the ball and taking batting practice every 14 days. It’s … not ideal.

But, now, we get to see our students every week. And still, that probably doesn’t sound like a lot, and it isn’t. But it’s SO much better than once a fortnight. There was a day, last week, that we actually taught five sections of classes live! It was wonderful! You cannot duplicate the experience of students learning to make music with their peers over a Zoom meeting. We’ve been trying — it’s … not ideal.

And then, twice last week, I watched college basketball games on television and there were actual fans in the arena, cheering on their teams.

And then, on Saturday, to celebrate a trio of birthdays in the family, we … (looks around furtively) … (whispers) … went to a movie! It was awesome! We had family over to the house to eat dinner and catch up, and then we hauled up to an actual movie theater, bought actual movie house popcorn and sodas, and watched a movie in digital Dolby whatever.

And, just to add to the normalcy, the Colorado Rockies lost a Spring Training game 12-3 on Friday. Better get used to *that*, I guess.

There IS a way forward, people! Rejoice! Celebrate! No, not like that, CU students.

And, honestly, we’ve probably known this for months. Don’t go out in public if you’re remotely symptomatic; limit close contact; wear masks in public spaces; and if you’re scared because you or someone you love is in the high-risk group, then make appropriate choices for you and your family. And when you get a chance, make an informed, logical decision regarding the vaccine. If you do your homework, and come to an honest decision to forego the vaccine until we have more data, then I respect that. BUT… make appropriate choices.

It’s time. One year, almost to the day, and we have a path forward to getting our worlds back to normal. That path includes the pharmaceuticals working their magic; that path includes the government being a smart partner about delivery (I’m looking at you, California); and that path still includes each and every one of us continuing to make smart choices about our lives.

You want your freedom of movement back? So do I. Let’s re-learn the old adage that “there can be no freedom without responsibility.”

See you out in the world!

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at, on Kindle, or through” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Michael Alcorn


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