If these last few months have taught us anything, it is that the world can change in the blink of an eye.
I didn’t think much of it when both Rudy Gobert and Emmanuel Mudiay of the Utah Jazz were listed as questionable due to illness. I expected a relatively normal — and frustrating — night from the Jazz as they prepared to play in OKC.
Then, as we all know, all hell broke loose.
To say this event is big is an understatement. The men’s NCAA basketball tournament has been held annually every single year since 1939, and now one fell swoop of COVID-19 has stopped a tradition that has been running for 81 years. Not only is March Madness cancelled, but almost every single major sport is in jeopardy of finishing out or starting its season in 2020. I have a feeling there will be a lack of “2020 Champion” banners hanging in rafters for the remainder of time.
What can sports fans do? After watching hours of Joe Ingles and Dirk Nowitzki highlights, I found myself asking that question and only found one definitive answer:
Cherish and anticipate.
Cherish the fact that for the entirety of your life, you have been able to enjoy the beauty that is competitive athletics. Remember the times that sports truly changed you. For me, the thought of David Freese saving game six of the 2011 World Series immediately enters my mind. Remember those times and hold onto them tightly, because it may be a little while before you get to enjoy those magic moments in real-time. Look back and really study the moments that changed sports and I promise you that you will become fascinated by the history and details that surround you.
Next, anticipate the fact that at some point we will be able to watch live sports again. Get excited to watch LeBron James completely dominate everyone with his incredible ability to drive the lane and put defenses in awe. Just imagine how sweet it will be to watch Tiger Woods sink the inevitable long putt and fist pump his way into legend yet another time.
Because at this point, those are pretty much the choices we have. Sure, we have the option to sulk and see a sport-less world as a hopeless one — but just as with love, longing makes the heart grow fonder.
I know for a fact that when I finally get to see a Utah Jazz tip-off, after a long period of waiting, my heart will explode with joy. Hell, I might even cry.
We will see sports again, I can promise you that. We will overcome this. On that day when we can finally sit side-by-side, enjoying the athletic events that we didn’t know we would miss so much, I hope that we can all remember just how lucky we are to have sports in our lives.
Because right now, it is very noticeable that we need them.
Photo by Hunter Hall