I’ve only been alive for 25 years, so I am not bringing a ton of experiences to the table. I can confidently say that this past week has been the strangest week in my life. I’d imagine that it is right up there for many of us, regardless of our ages.
It escalated very quickly. I was at St. Michael Albertville High School last Thursday to watch the Blake Bears take on the Rockford Rockets in a Section Semi-Final game.
We knew that Covid-19 fears were increasing. The NBA had been developing a plan of action, starting with banning media and escalating it to playing games with no fans.
During a time-out in the 2nd half of the game, I checked Twitter to find that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with Covid-19 and that the NBA was going to be suspended indefinitely.
Within a few days, the NHL, NCAA Tournament, MLS, MLB and Minnesota State High School League announced the same postponements, effectively ending all sports in our lives likely until the end of May or June.
Personally, this last week was quite boring for me. There was no NBA on TNT or ESPN or ABC, Selection Sunday was limited to me selecting how many desserts I wanted to have and there has been no relief from the constant and pressing Covid-19 discussions.
Thankfully, two things kept me busy. First, the NFL offseason has been spicey with the Vikings making moves and Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Bucs. Second, they replayed a WWE Royal Rumble on USA on Monday to keep me occupied, much to the dismay of my wife who didn’t know what the WWE was.
Obviously it is great to be informed and have up-to-date information on Covid-19 as that can help shape our behavior and keep us collectively safe as a community and country. However, I think this past week has shown us just how important sports are to many of our lives.
It starts with the high school level. Student-athletes, coaches and communities were elated to continue advancing in the playoffs, a dream many of them have had since they were young. This dream was ripped away from them and is something that they will never get back.
Sports are also a huge industry in our country. They provide jobs at stadiums and news outlets. They provide entertainment and reach a vast number of people across the globe. They provide a distraction from our realities, which would be welcomed right about now.
Sports also motivate us to be better. Athletes motivate us to keep grinding, to keep working out, to keep running and lifting and oftentimes to be better people.
Over the years, I’ve heard so many people say “it’s just basketball, a stupid game, why does it matter?”
This past week should prove to everyone just how important sports are to our culture. Whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, a coach, a parent or a fan, sports provide us with so much and this is glaring in a time where they can provide us nothing.
I recommend taking to Youtube and watching some old games of your favorite sport or team. So far, I have watched game 6 of the 2008 Finals where the Boston Celtics crush the LA Lakers as well as game 6 of the 2000 Finals where Kobe and Shaq win their first title by beating the Indiana Pacers.
For you football fans, maybe it is watching the Minneapolis Miracle again to serve as a nice pick-me-up.
Either way, I encourage you to stay vigilant and to keep a positive attitude. This is going to be a weird couple of months to say the least, so let’s hunker down, watch some classic games, and look forward to the day when our favorite sports are back again.