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Sports Update: So, what now? (3/27/20) By: Philip Lingafelt

Today, March 27, 2020, would usually be the day when the sports world would be experiencing the following:

-March Madness-- Day 2 of Sweet 16 (4 games) -8 NBA games-- Playoff push with 10(ish) games left in the season. -6 NHL games-- One week from final regular season games and the beginning of postseason play. -MLB Spring Training. -ETC.

(In more locally relevant news, App State baseball would be on the road at Little Rock in the middle of Sun Belt season play. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the Mountaineers were on a six-game winning streak and heading into Sun Belt play against Texas State.)

This is the best time of the year to many sports fans. March Madness by itself is incredibly exciting. By this point in the tournament, we would probably be pulling for a low seeded mid-major conference champion who is playing a Power-5 staple today. We would be looking at the Western Conference in the NBA anxiously, not knowing whether a much improved Dallas Mavericks team would make the playoffs. Or if we would get to see Zion Williamson in the postseason in his rookie year. Hockey fans in the area would be tuning in anxiously to Hurricanes games in the coming days as the opportunities to add points to a tight Wild Card playoff push dwindle. Alas… Instead, we are waking up to sports headlines such as, “Peyton Manning crashes Tennessee online class” and “Dr. Anthony Fauci chats with Steph Curry about the coronavirus”. In a time when social distancing is affecting all of us in a drastic way, the sports world is having to come up with headlines to talk about. The show goes on. Luckily, the NFL offseason has been extremely interesting with the move of names like Brady, Rivers, and Newton among others. With the sports world on hold, we find ourselves watching reruns of great games, videos of famous athletes quarantining just as we are, and trying to hold on to some sense of what is happening in the sports world. There is a sports shaped hole in our lives. Among the many other things that we can be reflecting on in this difficult time, maybe this is an opportunity for us to reflect on how grateful we are for sports. For some of us this has given us a newly found appreciation for the joy that sports bring us. We tend to take it for granted, and this absence of the excitement of live sports has given us an appreciation we would normally not have seen. With everything that is going on, sports seem really insignificant. It’s hard to even think about our priorities right now. Of course, our health and safety is of the utmost importance. But after that it’s hard to know. Even important things like education are taking a backseat for some of us in this period of social distancing and online classes. It’s hard to think about what is important for us right now. But sports are important, and maybe we’re learning that more in this time. We love the opportunity to watch an underdog from a mid-major conference knock off Kansas in the Sweet-16. The joy that comes from sports is real. It is significant. We love the opportunity to see months and months of hard work come to fruition in a postseason push. So... as we wake up to goofy headlines and videos like “The Worst Bricks of the NBA Season” (which is basically just NBA players missing open shots), let’s appreciate the way that athletes use their skills to inspire us, to bring us together. Maybe we can bring an even more exuberant attitude when the sports world resumes.

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