It was two weeks ago this Wednesday night, when moments before tip off between the Thunder and Jazz, officials were informed that Utah’s Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. The game was postponed on the spot and nearly twenty thousand people were escorted out of the arena. Before the end of the same evening, the NBA had suspended its season.
That same night, there was a spring training game between the Dodgers and Brewers, as the 151st MLB opening day was only 13 days away. The exhibition was cut short due to heavy rain. The Dodgers won 4-1 in seven innings, and less than 24 hours later, all spring training games had been postponed. In the coming days MLB followed suit with the NBA, NCAA, and NAIA for that matter, suspending play indefinitely.
The last time there were no games played by any of the four major sports during the month of April was in 1883. The reality is that that statistic will no longer be true in the coming days, with delays perhaps leading well into the summer. If we are lucky, there’s a possibility of a Fourth of July NBA Finals, and a World Series over Thanksgiving dinner. But what about until then?
We are told from the time we first hit a ball off a tee that there are bigger things in life than sports. But now that it’s been taken away from us, the question stands: What are those things?
It is easier in theory to say there are bigger things in life than sports when we have sports every day. Sports not only distract us from our lives, but rather inspire us to be better in the lives which we attempt to forget. Personally, that’s why I love baseball. It’s crazy how people hitting a ball with a stick can achieve greatness in doing so, while inspiring those who watch to pursue greatness of their own.
In a world so often divided, it is sports that tends to bring together tens of thousands of people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs together on any given day. For a lot of us, it is the very thing that connects us with people we love. For us sports fans, we are now faced with the reality of a world without sports, and struggling to find a way through the routine. There aren’t any wrong answers as to what we are supposed to do, but surely the right answers aren’t very obvious either.
“There’s always next year!” is a sentence which holds the hopes and dreams of generations. It keeps us coming back year after year. This quote helped 108 years of Cubs fans, and over 50 years of Cleveland fans, to keep coming back until they eventually won titles. But there is no quote written to help when it is this year, rather than next, that we so desperately long for. So no matter how you spend your time in the coming months, in a world without sports, let this be a reminder that next year is not always promised. So when this year returns, make sure you cherish it, like it’s the last year you ever might.