A world without sports–emptiness

I miss sports. I’m not afraid to admit it; it’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me. Watching the NCAA tournament unfold is what I miss most. That, and watching Alabama football spring practice.

Reading student-athletes’ emotional posts on social media is gut-wrenching. Watching seniors have their seasons ripped away is hard. It’s unprecedented. It’s hard to comprehend.

Sports will eventually come back. But, time past is already gone. An empty March that should be filled with madness is occupied by sadness. Memories and athletes’ precious time lost.

Amid the COVID-19, seemingly everyday life has stopped. Businesses have closed. People have lost their jobs. And we aren’t allowed to leave our homes—a global pandemic.

It’s bigger than sports. The games, the tournaments, the upcoming seasons all take a backseat.

And that’s ok. We understand.

But in a way, we are sports.

They are a distraction from a world that, at times, can be daunting. The New York Yankees lifted the city after the Sept. 11th attacks. Alabama football helped rebuild Tuscaloosa after the 2011 tornado. The New Orleans Saints rallied behind the city after Hurricane Katrina and the Houston Astros did the same.

Now, nothing.

That space is empty.

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I miss sports.

It’s ok to cry.

Right now, there are no sports to lean on in times of need. We have to fill the void in other ways.

So many unknowns. What-ifs.

How will schools handle athletes gaining an extra year of eligibility? Are their careers over? Will professional leagues be able to play? Or, will the seasons be canceled? What happens now?

It’s not fair.

As schools lengthen their closures, the future of sports is up in the air. If the NCAA tournament–whose played for 81 consecutive years through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and President Ronald Reagan getting shot on the day of the 1981 national championship game–gets canceled and the Olympics get postponed a year anything is possible.

Sports gone for the year becomes a possibility we have to accept.

It’s hard. It’s not what any of us wanted. But it’s time to be grateful for all we do have. To never take anything for granted, especially things of luxury that can be taken away at any given moment.

Soon stadiums will be filled, bars packed with fans watching the game. It will again be a time we all come together, forget about what’s happening in the world around us, even if just for a moment.

But until then, we’ll get through it together.

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