The opening picture above this story, I consider a badge of honor. Like the little “I Voted” stickers we used to get when we all voted in person; maybe more like the Cross on your forehead after the Ash Wednesday Service. That time-stamp that a volunteer scrawled on the windshield of my Suburban said, for all the world to see that I’ve been through something special.

When I got the message in my inbox that I had qualified for the Covid-19 vaccine I was thrilled. Perhaps it meant that fully one year after attending and broadcasting my last sporting event in 2020, we were finally rounding the bend heading toward some semblance of normalcy. I do have to credit my sister, who is a cancer survivor for hitting the Refresh key on the computer several thousand times before she hit the jackpot. I had an appointment. Monday, 10:15 am at The Arlington Airport.

Make no mistake, the Arlington Airport Complex is massive. Here’s my first tip: If you exit I-5 at Smokey Point, head east and turn before you pass the airport runway. It’s not marked! You’ll drive a little more than a mile around the west side of the airport.

As you drive along the country road, the flashing electronic sign will appear on the right.

This is where the panic sets in just a little, did you for sure bring all the paperwork? (Here’s my second tip: Bring all the paperwork)

So your right turn brings you through a nice drive through the woods. This is where we stop and thank the geniuses at Disneyland. They’ve perfected the “if you don’t stop, you won’t realize how long you’ve been waiting” idea. Once you’ve made the turn, you now serpentine your way around the Airport grounds.

This is also where we’re going to stop and thank the professionals with the Marysville and Arlington Fire Departments. (Sorry Marysville, I only caught a photo of an Arlington Rig) This whole thing doesn’t happen without the cooperation of the Fire Departments; the Snohomish Health District; and many volunteers.

After showing your paperwork; the next step is to pick a lane (actually they assign you the lane) then it’s another short drive, this time on a spare runway. This was also the point where I was informed that they were dispensing the Johnson & Johnson Single Shot vaccine today. For the first time in Snohomish County.

Now things are getting serious; this is where I was glad I wore a short-sleeved shirt (Tip #3: Wear a short sleeve shirt). When I got up to the Marysville Firefighter that was going to administer the shot, he joked that he was jealous; he had gotten the Pfizer, and after the second shot his arm was sore for a week. I have spared you the picture of the needle actually piercing my pasty-white skin. Actually, you can’t get a shot, hold up your sleeve, and operate your cellphone camera at the same time.

Here’s the card that they issued. The best part of this card is the “NA” under the 2nd Dose Column. For the life of me, I don’t know why the Johnson & Johnson is listed as Janssen on the label; although I suspect it has to do with translation from German to English.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I didn’t feel very good Monday night; woke up about 3 am drenched in sweat; woke up again at 5 am and started a 10 minute dry, scratchy cough session. Probably running about 85% on Tuesday, expect to be back to 100% (or as close as I ever get to 100%) by Wednesday.

Tom Lafferty is the Sports Director at KRKO/KKXA Radio. He is a member of the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame; the Snohomish High School Hall of Fame; the recipient of the Dave Duvall Award from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association District One and the Joe Martin Award for Service to baseball's Northwest League. Tom Lafferty & Steve Willits are co-hosts of Prep Sports Weekly, Thursdays at 7 pm on KRKO.