With each day bringing about another series of adjustments to our lives, routines and schedules, the world of sports has been impacted as much as any. With most every sporting event being canceled or postponed, both locally and nationally, the sports pages I bring to you each week will be narrowed to just a single page. I look forward to the days when I will be trying to cram everything into two pages.
For now I will try to provide you useful information and some entertaining articles as we wait for the current crisis to subside.
The winter sports season for Minnewaska athletes was able to completely run its course. Wrestling held its state tournament in late February and we were thrilled to have a wrestling team that provided an entertaining season and a state champion.
The Minnewaska girls’ basketball team also finished play in late February but the girls’ state tournament was canceled halfway through. The Lakers boys’ basketball season ended at the same time as all other teams in the state. Minnewaska’s loss in the section final was also the night all other games were canceled, leaving some sections without a champion and no state tournament at all.
The spring sports season at Minnewaska will feel the full brunt of the Coronavirus and its disruptions. The spring season is a short one under the best of conditions. The weather can have a major impact, as it did a few years ago, when the first varsity spring sport at Minnewaska wasn’t held until April 30.
The weather delays that year led to many doubleheaders and a packed schedule for every sport in the month of May. Changes were made for boys’ and girls’ golf that were so logical they were kept in place and are still used. Instead of scheduling numerous dual meets, golf teams now play two meets in a day at courses that are geographically close to each other. It allows teams to play more meets in fewer dates, an important matter if the weather is uncooperative. It was such a good idea it makes one wonder why it hadn’t been thought of before, proving again that necessity is the mother of invention. Hopefully this spring sports season will have enough time to require such invention.
Those of us that love sports are having to deal with a world devoid of sports. Literally, an entire world. I recently heard that the South Korean basketball league may be starting up soon, as the virus seems to be on the wane there. If so, ESPN no doubt will bring it to a world starving for sports.
As compared to other aspects of life, sports is trivial. But it’s entertainment, a very crucial part of any happy, fulfilling life, so it is important in its own way. It’s also the way many people make a living, so for them it is important for them beyond just entertainment.
As we look out our windows in Minnesota we see melting snow and ice piles, revealing the debris of the fall and winter left on our yards and streets. Temperatures are never as warm as we want, everything is brown and muddy. Messy.
What better time to sit in the comfort of our homes or go to a jam-packed arena somewhere in the United States to watch an underdog from some directional college play a blue-blood powerhouse like Kansas in an NCAA regional? As I write this it would have been the first day of the NCAA tournament, with games tipping off before noon and going until nearly midnight. What a blast that is! Or was.
This time of year I can escape the dreary world outside my window and be transported to a warm, green, lush world at an exclusive golf course someplace else. The Masters golf tournament was on the horizon and leading up to it were tournaments in California and Florida. I needed those escapes on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Baseball spring training was the harbinger for the upcoming baseball season. With the Twins expected to have a good team there was optimism to go with the good vibes of seeing palm trees behind small stadiums in Florida and Arizona. The optimism that kept even Cubs fans going for a century has been put on hold. It looks like we’ll still have baseball, just a truncated version. Hockey and the NBA are most likely done, with no postseason to be played, but who knows how that will shake out.
College spring sports are wiped out. They had just gotten started, with some baseball teams getting in a dozen or so games, before having to shut down. It seemed pretty draconian, but it’s done, the decision has been made by the NCAA.
I feel so badly for my hometown of Omaha. They were set to host an NCAA men’s basketball regional, the Big 10 baseball tournament, the Major League Baseball draft, the College World Series and the NCAA Swimming and Diving trials. That’s five big events over the course of four months that won’t be happening.
Practically everyone is affected in some way by the fallout from the virus. Sports is the least of the concerns for many, rightfully so. But for many of us, it’s wrapped into our lives and has been for many, many years. To remove it feels like some kind of surgery without anesthesia.
It’s been over a week since sports shut down along with much of the rest of the economy and the country. What’s done is done, on to what needs to be done. We Americans are resourceful and we will get through this. We sports fans love a good comeback story.