The world is different today than it was earlier in March. Feeling despondent or panicked or a million other feelings is reasonable in such a tumultuous time. A re-adjustment period to a new normal because there has been a realization the old normal is gone. However, people are resilient. The shelter at home orders will not last forever. We won’t lose anything of true importance that we don’t allow ourselves to lose. Hopefully, solace can be taken in this time being a shared human experience even in self-isolation. We can move forward together with hopes of making the world a bit better; if nothing else for those in our nearby vicinity.
Sports can feel small in such times, but their importance is one aspect that binds the community together and another that helps give a joyful distraction from whatever else might be going on in life. Thursday was to be the Cleveland Indians Opening Day. A day for celebration where even non-baseball fans travel downtown to cheer on the arrival of Spring. But, it is not as uncertainty of when any sporting season will return takes it’s place and the number 19 most talked about on the Northcoast is something other than Bernie Kosar for the first time since the 1970s.
Bode: March Madness is great fun, but baseball is the metronome of life from spring through fall. The constant abundance of games, storylines, and ever-evolving current knowledge of players and teams in the sport because baseball has led to the current absence being a void in the fabric of life.
Andrew: For me it’s basketball. Mostly the NBA, but also the NCAA tournament as well. This time of year is when basketball is king (other than NFL free agency…and the NFL Draft….and MLB opening day…ok, so maybe not king, but it’s really good!). I’ve been sick with the flu (Influenza A, not COVID-19), so I’ve been isolated even before the stay home order came down. It’s been pretty hard on me physically and mentally, and not having the comfort of the NBA and the Cavaliers, specifically, has really bummed me out a lot.
Craig: The obvious answer would be March Madness, but for me, it’s everything else. I feel like I’m missing the random sporting events I watch this time of year whether it’s UFC fights or MLS soccer matches. UFC is supposed to have a big one featuring Nurmagomedov at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 18, and I just have a hard time thinking that’s going to happen.
Mitchell: It feels like a copout to say baseball, because a) even without the pandemic, the MLB season wouldn’t have started until March 26, and it’s March 25th as I’m writing this, and b) hopefully, we’ll still get some of the season, albeit in dramatically abridged form. There’s no question that huge NBA fans like Andrew have it worse. And yet, there’s something magical about the lead-in to the baseball season. The long, dreary offseason is waning; you catch a glimpse of your favorite ballplayers over shoddily recorded spring training telecasts; your team is undefeated, anything is possible! Baltimoreans aside, it’s a time of hope and wonder. Now, the only wondering we have left is when we will get to watch our beloved game again.
Poloha: NCAA Tournament. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. Being without it this year was even worse because I was supposed to visit my buddy in Las Vegas for the opening weekend (and first two rounds) of March Madness. It was something that I was looking forward to for quite a while. Then, boom, I canceled my flight and shortly after that The Strip was completely shut down. It’s a crazy time, but I absolutely miss the NCAA Tournament and all of the awesomeness involved in that.
Bode: There will be no spring season for any college sport, which then affects both the draft status and potential future eligibility of all those players. The issue the NHL and NBA will have is a belated-postseason could well need to be done in an abbreviated manner if they are to have any offseason; not to mention difficulties it would place on free agency and their drafts. But, most Olympic athletes have trained since preschool for one shot at glory. Delaying the games and closing gyms during this stretch will disrupt what was supposed to be the shining moment of their athletic career.
Andrew: I’m curious about what’s going to happen with the NBA. Some have said we can watch Chinese basketball for an idea on what our timetable might look like. We thought the Chinese professional league was going to start up again April 15, which was a source of optimism for the NBA as a whole. But now they have decided to push the start of their league back to May, which is a tough blow for those of us who were hoping the NBA might start in May. I’m just not sure how the NBA is going to compress the rest of their season and/or playoffs if they get pushed back to late summer.
Craig: I don’t believe it was meant with this question, but I’m thinking mostly about high school seniors right now who might be missing their final year of organized baseball, lacrosse, or any of the other varsity spring sports that are almost definitely not going to happen. High school athletics is a wonderful thing, but only a small percentage of them go on to play seriously in college, and I feel so sorry for them missing their last moments of competitive athletics on their biggest stage.
Mitchell: It has to be the NBA, right? Sure, the Olympics are pushed back a full year, but that’s not going to dampen anyone’s enjoyment. As far as I know, the 2021 Games shouldn’t be markedly different than the extinct 2020 Games would have been. Yes, March Madness was canceled, but at least for me, the tournament’s largely an extremely complicated series of coin-flips anyway. This NBA season has been historically dramatic, from the ignition of an international incident to the remarkable bounce-back of the game’s greatest player to the deaths of two titanic figures in the history of the sport, one of which halted the nation in its tracks. This is a season that demanded a satisfying conclusion, and sadly, it might not happen.
Poloha: I’m with Craig. While professional and collegiate sports get the most buzz, I really do feel bad for high school seniors that either got their winter sport season cut short or their spring sport completely canceled. Many high schoolers won’t play an organized game of their favorite sport again. Senior seasons mean so much, it sucks that they won’t be able to experience any of that.
Bode: Movies, exercise programs, and family game nights have been my substitute thus far. There is a throwing and strength program I put together to do with my eldest child, who is teaching me that he has passed me by were it a competition (everything is a competition).
Andrew: Well, as I mentioned, I’ve been sick for a couple weeks fighting this flu, so it’s been hard for me to find productive things to pass my time. I watched an insane amount of TV and movies while I was going through the worst of it. Now that I’m closer to being back to normal, I’m hoping to find some new and more productive things to consume my normal sports time. I’ve been thinking about learning a new skill of some sort online, although I haven’t decided yet what I want to learn.
Craig: I’ve certainly contributed more here. I missed dedicating time to writing and podcasting, so I’ve done that. Playing more guitar. I have watched a lot of musicians streaming music. I’m walking with my family and trying to keep my two boys active as much as possible without spring soccer to get their blood pumping three times per week. I did watch one professional League of Legends match. I really love watching that “sport” when sports aren’t shut down, so I’ve got things to watch and do. It’s never been a better time to quarantine in terms of available entertainment. We’ve got that going for us.
Mitchell: Firstly, I should say, I’m extremely fortunate to have maintained some employment through this, and I can only imagine the anxiety for those who had worse luck. Aside from that, I don’t know, man. I feel like half of my time is being spent trying to figure out how to spend the time. For my own sanity, I have set an NBA-style hard cap on my Covid reading. I have two roommates, and so I’m rewatching The Leftovers with one of them and Breaking Bad with the other. Neither has seen the respective show. I’m reading Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel’s new book Future Value. I just made this amazing recipe for Channa Masala, which was written by my favorite recipe writer, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. I’m drinking too much beer (I’ve probably doubled my average, from .5/day to 1/day.) All in all, this feels like a waste of precious youth.
Poloha: I can only imagine how much my Screen Time on my iPhone has increased. That, and I’ve taken up video games again. As a guy that mainly only watched sports (sports shows or games), it’s been tough and I’ve had to adjust quite a bit. It’s crazy that we will be without sports for what seems like at least another month or two, too. It sucks, honestly.
Bode: I am blessed to be able to work remotely rather easily. Thus, some of the complications are shielded from me, while the advantages of spending more time with my immediate family are there in abundance. Just “being there” with my family when often in the normal mode of operation it feels like I’m popping in. Coffee and stretch breaks with my wife and kids is far better than with colleagues; as much as I appreciate the good group of people I have at work.
Andrew: Now that I’m working from home, I do find that I really do not miss dealing with rush hour traffic in Columbus. I like when my workday is over, I simply close my laptop, get up, and walk to the living room and my day is done. I generally spend more than an hour every day sitting in my car, and it’s been nice to have that extra time with no commute. Oh, and also, I enjoy drinking my own pour-over coffee as opposed to the office K-Cup coffee. That’s a nice perk.
Craig: I appreciate the sense of camaraderie where I live. There was some slow adoption to taking COVID-19 seriously, sure, but on the whole, I feel like this has brought every community I’m part of closer together. We all have a common foe. People are rallying around restaurants. People seem extra sensitive to freelancers. I hope these feelings last because even though we’re going through a horrible experience, we can work to try and pull whatever nuggets of hope and positivity out of it. I have to focus on that or I’ll go crazy.
Mitchell: Like any huge, drastic, negative change, there are relatively tiny positives. I get to cook more now. Alone time is no longer at a premium (sorry, @friendswithkids). My coffee intake has decreased. But, all of that is occurring under the anxiety umbrella of thousands of people dying. I’m really starting to hate the phrase “this is going to get worse before it gets better.”
Poloha: I love what this has done for local, family-owned businesses, at least the ones that have been able to sustain themselves and remain open. So many people are rallying around these small restaurants to help them out as much as possible. Someone even created a Facebook group to help people support the family-owned restaurants in Medina County. While we don’t know all of this strange ugliness will come to an end, I feel like one of the positives we can look back on will be that the small businesses are more popular than they ever were before.