Op-Ed: As A Student Athlete, I Only Break Quarantine To Slap My Friend’s Ass

I am a proud member of the UCLA basketball team, and I respect that COVID-19 is a serious threat to the community. I would never willingly put any person at risk of a serious health issue.

However, rules are made by their exceptions, and the exception to social distancing is slapping your friend’s ass. The basketball season has not yet begun, and I often see my teammates around campus, or bros from parties at socially-distanced events. Upon seeing a dearly missed friend or a nearly-forgotten acquaintance, am I to just exchange pleasantries and walk on by? There is an order in society based on tradition, and I plan to adhere to those traditions. What are we without tradition? Just two non-athletes remaining six feet away at all times, losing all semblance of the previous social order? That is not a world in which I would choose to live, and I hope you, my reader and fan, would agree.

Slapping my friend’s ass is a brief interaction, with minimal physical contact. The chance of transmission is very low because the glutes do not respirate (I checked this with my physical therapist). What is the risk of an ass-slap compared to say, a visit to the grocery store? I do not believe slapping my friend’s ass to be a detrimental practice in the era of COVID-19, and it is only as dangerous as you make it. In my case, it is a very personal experience, so we typically take off our masks so we can see each other’s expressions of excitement. But is that so wrong? Most of the time, we don’t even kiss.

In conclusion, as a student athlete, I view rules as guidelines and guidelines as suggestions, and I still ignore those sometimes anyway.