A little over one week has passed without sports. How have you coped?
I am reminded of the great Rogers Hornsby when asked what he did during the winter when baseball was idle.
“I’ll tell you what I do.” Hornsby said, “I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Don’t we all.
After a few months waiting for spring to finally arrive, the results have been less than satisfying, thanks to the coronavirus that has seemingly put the entire sports world – outside of the NFL - on hold.
Baseball’s Opening Day was slated to start in four days. March Madness should have been down to the Sweet Sixteen by tonight. Bristol should be hosting a NASCAR race in 14 days and the NBA and NHL regular seasons should be winding down to its never-ending postseasons. The Masters, which has long played by its own rules, has even shut it down.
Instead, none of that is going to happen anytime soon. Well, the NFL draft might occur next month, but not in Las Vegas.
Would it be possible to start 2020 over again?
My philosophy on winter is to survive – and I survived some rough ones in Bluefield – to get to spring. The time change that brings later sunshine mixes well with shorts, t-shirts, sandals, leaving coats at home and lots of spring sports.
Why can’t it always be like that?
Instead, we are being warned to stay inside, avoid large crowds and wash our hands. Forget about eating in a restaurant, shopping centers and malls are deserted and toilet paper is flying off the shelves.
Who would have thought our world would just stop, yet that is what has happened, and there is no end in sight.
The first week without sports has been dominated by the NFL.
Now I know we all need a distraction from the world’s issues right now, but this simply isn’t a good look. So many workers are losing jobs, the stock market continues to plummet and the NFL is signing athletes for millions of dollars to play a few games a season.
At least now we know where Tom Brady will play next. I just hope he can survive on pulling in $50 million – plus $9 million more in bonus and incentives - over the next two seasons.
Right now we don’t even know if there will be a season.
It has been a challenge to fill up a sports section each day, and it’s been tough for television networks to replace live sports. Some are showing classic games, which has been great, such as the Baltimore Orioles winning the 1983 World Series or losing Game 7 at the same point in 1979.
It has been a long dry spell for the Orioles.
I could have done without – and I did – ESPN showing an 11-hour marathon on Saturday of UFC’s greatest fights.
There is also the plight of the gambler. How does a sports bettor make – or more likely lose – money without sports.
Would you believe betting on the weather?
Yep. I received an email at work this week from an online sportsbook offering the opportunity to bet on temperatures. For instance, you could have gambled (odds of -120) last Wednesday on whether the Fahrenheit temperature in Houston would remain below and rise above 81 degrees. Or, above or below 3 degrees Celsius in Toronto.
Sorry, but if you need to bet on weather, you might have a problem.
We all miss sports, but these are not normal times. Sports have always been a diversion from troubles, but we don’t have mere games to turn to now.
Time has been spent by reading books – I have already finished two – taken long walks, worked out at a local gym – wiping everything down along the way – while many are spending quality time with family and friends – from a distance of course.
It’s also a great time to hang out with your pets. Be glad you can have a dog or cat or whatever your choice of animal is. My apartment complex won’t allow pets. Bugs of various kinds are fine, but no pets. Please, I would prefer a meow or bark to a bug bite.
Most of all during this time we have to remain patient, which is one trait most Americans don’t have. We want it now, but this is going to take some time. It won’t be easy, but just try to “go with the flow” which is a favorite quote of mine by the great John Candy from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”
I might watch that movie a few more times. It never gets old.
Last week I listed a few things we can do to pass the time during this ordeal, and I was quickly reminded that I missed one. A big one, which was described years ago in a song lyric by former Oakland A’s “batboy” Stanley Burrell, later to be known as rap musician M.C. Hammer.
“You’ve got to pray just to make it today.”
How true. We can all say prayers for our country and world.
It certainly needs it right now.