There are concerns in college football and the NFL about players and coaches testing positive for COVID-19 and having to miss a game while remaining in quarantine. One high school faced similar circumstances, but the coach found a unique loophole. He simply sat inside a construction lift in order to avoid being in close proximity to other people.
Vardaman High School (Mississippi) head coach Brennan Pugh drew attention on Friday night for using a lift to coach his team. Photos surfaced that showed the piece of heavy equipment fully extended and overlooking the football field. Pugh was high in the air and well above the stands while remaining in quarantine. Many people on social media saw this and reacted by saying that Pugh was reaching "peak 2020." Others criticized his decision.
Vardaman (MS) High School head coach Brennan Pugh was in quarantine due to COVID-19.
No problem. Just rent a lift. pic.twitter.com/CtveIRZFPV— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) September 12, 2020
"This really should not be celebrated. Quarantining should mean quarantining. America's obsession with sports is completely insane," one person commented. Another asked about the droplets flying out of Pugh's mouth when he coughs. They wanted to know if the head coach was properly sanitizing the inside of the lift prior to returning it for the next customer.
While several criticized the coach and said that he was being a bad role model, others came to Pugh's defense. They said that he was technically remaining in quarantine despite comments expressing a different opinion. The reason, as they explained, is that his backyard is actually behind the football field. He was still quarantined at home; he just had a construction lift in his backyard. These Twitter users also explained that Pugh's family owned the lift, so neither he nor the school paid to rent it.
With the photo surfacing on Twitter, several football fans compared Pugh to a college head coach. They referenced Liberty's Hugh Freeze, the man who once coached a game while lying in a hospital bed. Freeze had undergone surgery to treat a potentially life-threatening staph infection two weeks prior to a game. He didn't want to risk hurting himself and extending his recovery time, but he felt better as the game approached.
The football team then found a way to get Freeze into the stadium. They crammed his hospital bed into a TV booth in the press box and then cut a hole in order for the coach to communicate with the staff. Freeze later explained that the situation was not ideal considering that he couldn't look his players in the eyes, but the photos of him in the booth went viral and entertained fans.